An Awfully Big Adventure

THE LONG GOODBYE: An Awfully Big Adventure

"All he knew was that you couldn’t hope to try for the big stuff, like world peace and happiness, but you might just about be able to achieve some tiny deed that’d make the world, in a small way, a better place.

Like shooting someone.”
Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant


“Set a thief to catch a thief.”


(This post takes place while Harry is sleeping at the hotel and two days after T'Shaini's misadventure depicted in “The Angel’s Share”)

Red 22 Beta
February 1, 2384
12:10:13 Hours

Enris Stoh-ehn leaned sullenly against the wall of the private booth. He’d only been invited to one of the ‘do’s’ at Ankh once before. That time it had been as a reward for services rendered to the newly born cause. This time, just past the club’s lunch opening and left to stew in an empty closet of a room, he knew that he wasn’t being rewarded.

The appearance of Gavin Booth, accompanied by the dark lady confirmed that surmise.

“Tell me about de Carrabas,” the woman asked as she took one of the two chairs in the small space while Booth remained standing, dark eyes locked on Enris, assessing.

“What’s to tell?” Sto-ehn asked. “He showed up on our doorstep, back from the frakking dead and first thing, starts throwing his weight around.”

“From what I hear,” Neishi looked up through her thick lashes, “The weight he threw was yours.”


“He scragged you, which means you were careless or sloppy or he really is as good as his rep,” Booth interrupted. “You’d better hope it was the last ‘cause in this business, sloppy will get you killed.” He took a moment to examine his fingernails. “What else do you know?”

The Enolian hesitated before answering. If the brass were this interested in the guy, it might not be the best idea to keep bashing him… everything was frakking politics, now. Damned Human was going to get a lot of play just because once upon a time, they say, de Carrabas ruled his particular portion of the stars… smuggling, dealing, out and out pirating if the take was rich enough. Word had it he'd been killed while trying to take an allied freighter, just before the cease-fire but now here he was in Jericho-Beta, looking to hire himself out.

And the top guns wanted to know all about him. “According to Garuuk and his team, he’s a poacher,” he gave them what he had, which was little more than local gossip, though that gossip had been pretty damned virulent during the birthing hours of that very morning. “Dukath, Klingon muscle, had his arm busted reaching for a Vulcan piece that got herself lost, late last night. de Carrabas decided he wanted the flitterbird for himself and took out Dukath, Kaen and Garuuk to get to her.”

Booth let out a low whistle and the woman’s eyes gleamed with interest.

“All three of them?” she questioned, one hand reaching up to Booth’s which rested on her shoulder, “and he only Human?”

Enris kept his external cool though he was still burning over his own humiliation in The Needle two nights back, “That’s the word. Dukath is looking for payback,” he added, not wanting to be found guilty of withholding intel. Hells, she probably already knew…

“Tell him he’ll have to wait,” she responded. “As will you, Enris,” she smiled at the man’s grimace… one barely needed to be an empath to read his feelings on the matter of this new player. “There may come a time for you to ‘even the score’… but not now. For now, I want you to find him and, when you do, contact me. I wish to speak to this Human.”

“What if he won’t wait for you to show?” Sto-Ehn’s question wasn’t a challenge… he enjoyed breathing too much to test the authority before him.

“Then I expect you to make him wait,” Neishi Fabria rose, turned to the door, turned back, “Consider it a test of your own value to our organization.”

Booth just grinned his wild, frightening grin as he followed the Cygnian woman out the door, leaving a quietly shaken Stoh-ehn behind.

Featuring NPC’s Neishi Fabria, Gavin Booth and Enris Stoh-ehn
Originally Posted 4-14-2008 by Harry Finn

Red 22 Beta
Outside of Ankh
20:25:31 Hours

Xer wasn’t specifically engaged to follow Dr. Schaeffer everywhere she went, he knew that. His official duties ended once they took the shuttle back from the dig site but Harry’s request to “keep an eye open, let me know if anything odd pops,” didn’t have a time clock on it and, truth to tell, his hackles had gotten a tickle when Hallows pushed this dinner celebration on Dr. Schaeffer. One thing about living somewhere in the grey area of intergalactic law for most your life, you learned to respect that warning tingle when it… tingled.

So he’d discretely followed the pair from the dig crew’s quarters all the way to Red 22 and the farther they went into the party zone the more his spine contracted with nerves until, sure enough, Dr. Hallows led the unsuspecting Kerrin into Ankh.

Of all the gin joints…

Xer had been a resident of Jericho-Samaria for nigh on a year, by now and he knew what type of people favored that club… it was a den for the princes of the shadow trade… the dealers, the pimps the smugglers and the assassins. It wasn’t exclusively the property of the outlaw residents of the Outpost but they made up a good two thirds of the steady clientele and the other third were generally the type who got their kicks from saying they’d dined just two tables away from this cartel soldier or that known gang leader.

People were, Xer concluded, very strange.

Taking a table at a sidewalk cafe diagonally situated from Ankh’s front entrance, he settled in to wait for his unofficial charge’s departure. He wondered, ordering what was sure to be the first of many raktajino’s of the evening (that he could afford, with credits he’d earned!) the prune-faced little man wondered if Jason Hallows knew what type of joint he’d chosen to take Kerrin Schaeffer to, how dangerous it might be for her.

More to the point, he wondered what would happen when Harry found out where Hallows had taken her.

Xer had every intention of making this report by long distance.

Post featuring NPC Xer
Originally Posted 4-20-2008 by Harry Finn

Red 22 Beta
Inside of Ankh

"So I was thinking that the symbol that resembles this…" Kerrin overlapped five cocktail napkins in a circle. "you know, the kinda pointy star shape," She grabbed one of the napkins and folded it in on itself. "the variants on the triangles seem to be identifying markers…perhaps names of the tribes…" She waved her hand as if to forestall an argument that Jason was not even starting. "I know I am jumping, but I have a gut feeling. So yeah, if these are tribal names, then this…" She recreated her giant (slightly crumpled) star. "could mean…" Kerrin leaned forward and whispered as if imparting some dangerous intel. "unification."

"You mean at some point in the past they were unified?" Knocking the napkins askew Jason grasped her hands.

"Or trying to unify…" She squeezed hard, then let go. "all this is merely conjecture." Kerrin stared off into the distance with a beatific smile on her face. "But wouldn't it be incredible?" Her intense gaze snapped back at him. "Maybe even, with evidence of their ancestors dreams, the Kendrassi would…" She broke off laughing at herself. "Oh yeah, I find a rock and change the world. Sorry, delusions of grandeur." She reached up to run her fingers through her hair then froze as she remembered she had actually bothered to style it, that thought led her to looking down and making sure that her dress was covering all the right places, once she was assured of that she took in the space around her once again.

Opulent…opulent was the only word that came to mind. Tucked away in an alcove, she peeked out to admire the how even the most public tables had some privacy afforded by the columns scattered throughout the restaurant. Knowing she would only end up wanting what Jason was eating, she asked him to order things to share…more plates, more new things to try. Reaching across the table she speared another one of those black gooey things that looked like mushrooms but tasted like honey drenched lichee nuts. Dancing a bit in her chair as the flavors burst into her mouth she choked slightly as she realized Jason was watching her. "Ahem…happy food dance." Face flushed, she shrugged. "Yup, you can dress me up, but you can't take me anywhere."

Jason had leaned back, Kerrin so wholeheartedly drank everything in it was impossible to not be drawn to it….her joy was almost palpable, therefore infectious. He reached out and brushed the stray lock of hair that refused to remain in the clip then let his hand trail down her cheek, enjoying the wary look that his movement brought to her face. His blue, blue, eyes opened wider, shining with affronted innocence. "What? I can't fix your hair?" His hand slid further down to hook one finger beneath the strap of her dress and pull threateningly.

Kerrin's eyes, which had begun to drift shut at the sensations spreading from his hand, snapped open and her hand quickly covered his. "I will kill you." She knew, deep down, that he would never really embarrass her in public, but somehow that did not change the automatic panic when all that stood between her and her modesty was his finger wrapped around the thin strap of her dress. Her other hand wrapped around the first thing she found and Kerrin stretched it out threateningly. Glancing down she winced slightly before waving it at him. "It may be a spoon, but I bet I can do significant damage with it if provoked."

"Cardassian standoff…" Jason's smartass grin was blinding. "Drop the spoon and I will drop the strap…on the count of three." He lifted all but one finger off her shoulder. "One….two….two point five…" They both began to shake with laughter, then both yelled "THREE!"

Then jumped back with a yelp when a concerned face entered into their peripheral vision. "Is everything to your liking?" The server could was unsure of whether the couple was having an extremely good time or vermin had run across their feet.

Breathless with the residuals of panic and laughter Kerrin could only wave her hands ineffectually at the waiter while Jason assured him that everything was exceptional. Keeping his head shaking internal, Fredrick walked back to the kitchen.

Young and in love…how revolting.

JP featuring NPCs Kerrin Schaeffer, Jason Hallows…and a cranky, clearly single waiter.
Originally Posted 4-20-2008 by T'Shaini

Yellow 24 Delta
“Terra Nova Suites”
15th Floor
February 1, 2384
19:00:10 Hours

Thirty minutes. At last chrono check, anyway.

Women. He distinctly said that he would arrive at her apartment at 1845…fifteen-till-seven, civilian time…which gave her time…..more than enough time to ready herself. He’d made reservations at the Moons of Shalamara, the ritziest and most popular resort-casino in the Blue Sector, for 19:30…Christ! Did she have any idea what he’d had to go through to get past the background scan just to be approved for a membership card?…Well, trial membership. And that was beside the point.

The point was: they were working. He’d gotten a lead from the friend of a friend of someone who owed Ghemmy the Red Alert barman a big favor (inasmuch as his regular pipeline—-the Big Stink with the oversized hat also-known-as-Haq Kiy Haq—was lately as scarce as Ferengi at a charity fundraiser) that a certain person they both knew well (intimately in Slater’s case…unfortunately) was in town and was using Shalamara’s as a base of operations. A certain person whose name alone could, if little else, get his foot in doors he’d otherwise have to kick in… and maybe get shot for his trouble.

At any rate, the Moons of Shalamara was one of those places that…by reputation at least…hailed back to the days of Old Earth, circa 1950’s – 1960’s, New York, Detriot, Hollywood, Las Vegas…Places like the “21” Club, the Stork Club, the Brown Derby, the Flamingo…where the high class and the low lifes, the lofty and the feisty, the rich and shameless, bumped elbows…and various other body parts you’d most probably need a panel of doctors and biologists to identify. Like it’s sister branches on Luna, Mars, in Alpha Centauri’s premier colony, and on Jupiter Station, it could afford to be…particular concerning its clientele and almost always had a gigantic waiting list of those being considered for membership alone, and a queue of people waiting to get in, on any given night, that stretched a good two city blocks. Under those circumstances, once you were in…and especially after making reservations…the last time you wanted to be was late.

Slater checked his attire, for the tenth time in the mirror bhind her wet bar; fussing with his dinner jacket, tie, cumberbund…Unable to stop the grin, despite the situation, remembering that the outfit had been brought rather than replicated by Cataleen Kellan. They had getting getting pretty (what? close? chummy? friendly?) comfortable with each other over the past few months. So much so that she’d sprung for the monkey suit at the mention that he had “business” at the Moons of Shalamara…Without grilling him as to what the business was or if he were going there unescourted. Of course, he neglected to mention that he had a date…er, companion for the evening. Although the way new spread in Jericho-Beta he knew she’d hea about it eventually. Then he was most probably find out just how close to the surface her Orion blood ran.

A glance at the 3D chronometer on the bar’s end showed 19:05.

“Nice place you got here,” he called out. Maybe…just maybe a vocal reminder of his presence would speed things up, he thought.

“Actually it belongs to one of my girls,” Daka’s deep, velvety voice emerged from the apartment left-rear. “She comes from a very wealthy family on the Penthara Colonies…Where she was recruited by Chief Doyle. She ontated her father when we found out we were coming to Kendrassa Prime and he e-Transacted her the credits to buy it. All of us use it for down-time…R&R.”

“I apologize for keeping you waiting,” she added. “Had a rough day at the store,” Daka giggled. A decidedly cute one. “You would think the members of Federation Christian Decency League could find a more sinful den of iniquity to picket than our little adult accessories shop…Anyway, I usually take a five to ten minute rest between forms and today Sister MacPherson and her Holy Heifers demanded my unyielding attention. I needed a nice, long soak to revitalize.”

“No problem. I understand.” It was and he didn’t, of course. But he sincerely doubted that admitting either would make things go any swifter.

“This man you’re looking for,” said Daka after a brief pause. “Finn…I reading the dossier Doyle sent. What is he doing here in the Habitat? I mean…I know why…If I’d been put through what this Shaun Ryan Acker did to him, I’d be after some serious payback, too. But from what the rest of the file showed, this piece of merde Acker is associating with some pretty heavy hitters…And Finn’s just one man. What excatly does Doyle expect us to do when…..and if we find him?”

“First of all, he gave us the final call on that,” Slater answered. “The way I see it, Harry Finn’s in a much more advantageous position than we are. The fact that he’s here alone…and I’m sure that, by now, Acker knows it…will shake things up. May make Acker and his people nervous enough to make a mistake…show their hands. So…I’m thinking we jump in and see if we can give the man a little backing.

“The person we’re going to see tonight can put us on to things…and people with valuable inside information on the Syndicate involvement with Shaun Ryan Acker…alias Charles Champe Stearns. And who knows? If we’re very lucky, we might even hook up with Finn in the… … .”

Slater froze as the rear door opened and Daka strolled out. A completely different Daka from the one he’d met the previous night.

“… .process,” he finished.

It hit him almost simultaneously. Forms, she said. I usually take a five to ten minute rest between forms.

“You’re a Chameleoid.”

“Oops….Knew I forgot to mention something,” she giggled again. “That going to be a problem?”

“For you…No,” he replied as a vision of Cataleen took shape in his mind’s eye. “No problem whatsoever,” He crooked an arm toward her. “Shall we depart?”

Post featured NPCs –
Daka and Ray Don Slater, FDJ Undercover
Originally Posted 4-22-2008 by Toryn Kaz

Red Sector
3500 Block of R Street

Harry walked briskly down the street, about three blocks ahead. If he suspected he was being followed, he didn’t give it away. Tanis kept to the shadows, suddenly wondering why she was bothering to follow him at all as the streetlights became progressively dimmer. Was she that bored? Yes, came the honest answer. Flying routine watch was hardly the excitement she’d signed up for.

Now he turned right. Tanis hurried to catch up, lest she lose him. She sprinted to the next block…and almost ran into a black limousine that pulled to the corner. She stumbled back onto the curb to keep from getting hit, mentally cursing the driver.

The back door swung open and an engorged human male, as big and round as the moon orbiting Megiddo, lunged out and gripped her by the arm. Before she could process the situation, she found herself backside-up in a plush leather seat, face shoved against an armrest. She fell over onto the floor as the car took off. Looked up into the face of the man who’d taken her. She automatically assessed him. Six-four, 380 pounds, beady black eyes swimming in pork-sausage cheeks, mooshka lips turned into a frown. But what the heck was going on? The partition to the driver’s seat was up.

A woman sat opposite the goon. She had long brown hair, and eyes that bespoke an all-knowing intelligence…or at least the attitude of one. No one ever knew it all. But it was she who spoke first.

“Welcome, my dear. You must be new. I must say, I’ve never seen you before.”

Tanis’ mind raced. She wanted excitement, and here it was, staring her in the face. Only she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. Being abducted by a woman and her goon was not an everyday occurrence; she had no prior experience to help her decide her next step. In Starfleet, they told you only to give your name, rank, and service number. But if she did that, they would know she was Starfleet…if they didn’t already. She had no idea who these people were, or what they knew.

Play it cool.

“Likewise,” she offered, cautiously. She edged onto the seat, as far away as possible from the woman. Tanis turned slightly toward them, sliding her hand behind to try and find the locking mechanism.

The woman laughed. The goon still scowled.

“Quite fruitless, I assure you. The locks are controlled remotely…by me,” she said, grinning falsely.

Tanis returned the Cheshire-cat smile and scanned the small area for a weapon and a way out. The open sun roof blew in a whiff of salt air. A way out. The weapon would be another matter. Ms. Thing didn’t look like she allowed captives easy access to dangerous objects.
“So…who are you? And what do you want?” Tanis said, genuinely wanting to know the answers.

“My name is unimportant. You may call me mistress.”

“Mistress? Uh…OH!” Realization dawned on her….and the woman was wearing thigh-high black patent leather boots. It suddenly made sense. “Ah, well, I’m uh, that’s uh…not my thing, exactly. So, I’ll just be going,” Tanis said.

The woman’s hand jerked in a quick gesture, and the small moon lunged again at Tanis. This time, she drew up both knees to her chest and planted her feet in his chest—and pushed hard, straining aginst the weight. She only managed to keep him at bay, though. Neither one moving forward or back. They remained suspended, like victims of Mount Vesuvius in the midst of a wrestling match.

“Emotions. They come flooding out of you…anger, doubt, anxiety…lust. Quite unusual for a Vulcan,” the woman said.

Tanis wished she’d listened to her mother more.

“But you’re only half-Vulcan,” the woman continued.

“What are you…a Betazed?” Tanis choked out, straining against the massive bulk.

“Don’t tell me…you’re a follower of Sybok.”

“Don’t…tell me…your mother was a bitch…and you never knew your father. So you…take out your…pain on others,” Tanis said.

The Moon’s face contorted in frustration at not being able to grab Tanis as ordered. His face reddened to the color of Klingon blood wine. He wrapped his beefy hands around Tanis’ thighs and dug in his fingers. Pain shot up her legs. She summoned a burst of strength and propelled him across the limo and onto the seat behind him. Then she leaped on him and dug her thumbs into his eyes. White vitreous gel seeped out of his orbits as her thumbs sank deeper. He howled in pain.


A bolt of pain zigzagged down Tanis’ back; blood seeped into her shirt. Tanis whirled around to find the “Mistress” holding a knife and a riding crop embellished with small, sharp chunks of metal. The look on her face was a mixture of rapture, anger, and pain. She lifted the whip again, but Tanis kicked out a foot and knocked it from her hand. The woman’s other hand disappeared in a blur of motion, and fire suddenly erupted from Tanis’ side. She looked down to find the knife embedded in the side of her abdomen.

The Moon was now flailing wildly, blindly, and caught Tanis up with an arm. She slammed into the woman and the knife pushed farther into her. Pain exploded in her stomach. Her screams echoed in her ears. She slumped to the floor, under the Moon’s feet. He stomped on her chest, forcing the air from her lungs.

Tanis grabbed his foot and twisted with her remaining strength, until she heard a loud crack. He howled again and fell back against the door; the woman laughed this time.

Having had more than her share of excitement for the night, Tanis propped an elbow on the woman’s lap and landed a right hook on her jaw. Tanis didn’t stick around to find out whether she’d knocked her unconscious. The sun roof beckoned. She got to her feet, reached, and swung herself up, up, up and onto the roof. Quickly lifted her legs out, pulled out the knife from her side, and rolled down the back of the car.

The landing hurt the worst. Pain radiated all over her body as she rolled on the street, afraid to open her eyes and see what she was leaving behind on the road…skin…blood. She felt like a spent ragdoll, and lay in the middle of the road, waiting for the car to stop and back up. But it didn’t. The driver must have been unaware of the goings on in the backseat, the woman too groggy to tell him to stop. At least that’s what Tanis hoped.

She rolled onto her knees, clutching her stomach as green blood poured out. If she didn’t make it to a doctor soon, she’d probably die of blood loss. No purse, no communicator…just boarded-up houses in a dead part of town. Harry was probably long gone. The screech of tires sounded, and she figured whoever it was decided they didn’t want to get involved. She couldn’t blame them. She staggered to her feet and hobbled back the way she came, down the shadowy sidewalk, praying for a conscientious cop to drive by.

A shape appeared on the ground before her, from around the corner. A shadow. A large shadow. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled as a gigantic Klingon stepped in front of her.


Featuring NPC's Neishi Fabria and Tanis Lev
Originally Posted 4-22-2008 by Rhian Gaius

Red Sector
On the move…

=/\=Szeeraal, this is Finn… tell your guy I’m gonna be late…=/\=

=/\=How late?=/\= he winced at both the Caitian’s tone and the rapid swerve the cab he’d shang-hai’d made as it kept up with the ominous black limo.

=/\=Way late=/\= he responded and cut the com before he could get an earful of feline ire. “Mind not riding the curb, there bub?” he asked the driver who, once engaged with a fifty and the request to ‘follow that vehicle’ had apparently decided that it was time to emulate an old chase vid and try to run into as many obstacles as possible on the way. “We’re trying to not let them know we’re onto them.”

Onto who, now, that was a question for the ages. He’d just shaken the tail that had been following him, doubling back around the narrow block to come up behind the woman who, clearly, sucked at surveillance. Having made it to a comfortable following distance, he watched, pretty much dumbstruck as the young woman collided with a limo… more like the limo collided with her… and was summarily swept into the vehicle by a bipedal Moby Dick. Not bothering to think, he’d dashed into the street, directly in front of Mad Max, here, and, well, the rest was recent history.

“They’re heading into Bust Out,” the driver said, slowing, “I’m not taking my ride in there…” he blinked as another fifty in, holeeee, gold-pressed latinum strips fell over the seat, “without telling you to fasten your seatbelt!”

“Too late,” Harry said, eyes on the prize which was suddenly sporting a new ornament. Was that her, climbing onto the roof? “Hit the…” he slammed forward into the driver’s seat, “… brakes.”

“Too late,” his driver, a Bolian wearing a decidedly jaunty cap, replied but Harry didn’t hear him, he was already out of the cab and racing towards the stumbling woman and… “Oh, come on,” he muttered to himself, sliding into the shadows as an ominously familiar silhouette appeared in front of the girl. A screech from behind indicated the sudden loss of his ride but that didn’t matter nearly as much as the gleam in the Klingon’s eye as he reached out for his clearly wounded prize.

Originally Posted 4-24-2008 by Harry Finn

Red Sector
3500 Block of R Street

Sharpened, yellow teeth gleamed dully in the flickering light of a dilapidated billboard from across the street. Unkempt hair hung down to massive shoulders, covered in black leather. The Klingon must have been 6’4”, 350 pounds. What was it with big men today? When she wanted them, they were nowhere to be found. Tonight, she was getting them in spades.

“Look, I’m half dead already…” Tanis said. She removed her hand to reveal the knife wound…and the large blood stain on her leopard-print skirt. “…and I’m sure it would be dishonorable to attack a wounded woman, so whaddya say…just let me go? There’s a good sport.”

The Klingon laughedone that bellowed up from the diaphragmthen replied with a lunge. She nimbly twisted out of the way…he not being quite as fleet of foot as the Mistress’ goon…and he landed at the feet of…Harry?

“Sorry, Du… dude,” Finn ducked as the Klingon popped up like a jack in the box and threw a significant roundhouse his way, “but this one was following me.” So saying Harry caught the massive arm as it swung into backhand mode, torquing it and pressing in just… about… there… until he heard the satisfyingly gruesome crack which confirmed he’d found the weak spot.

Still, the not-as-drunk-as-he’d-like attacker had more in him and, leaving his broken arm in Harry’s hands, spun into a close attack, roaring his way straight into Harry’s quickly raised elbow. “Ow,” the Human complained as cranial ridge met funny bone. “Ow ow ow…”

It'd happened in a blur of motion, prompting Tanis to wonder if it was really all a dream…a bizarre one…but the pain in her side soon put her to rights.

She'd never seen someone break a Klingon's arm beforeand so deftlywithout so much as breaking a sweat. But the second cracking sound seemed a mitigated payback for the arm—a fractured elbow.

Between the two of them, they should be able to finish him off, she figured. She reached down and took off one of the black stilettos she'd been tottering on (never again would she complain about the ugly regulation boots) and jumped on the Klingon's back. She hammered the end of the stiletto into his temple repeatedly.

He roared and twisted around violently, bucking like the demon-possessed sprinkled with Holy water. She kept pounding…drew blood. He rammed his back into the brick wall of the building behind them, sending sparks of pain from her side and across her back. She released her grip and slumped to the ground.

Clutching his elbow, Harry watched the cyclone of a woman leap the Klingon like he was a steer and she a champion bronco buster but, as hard as she hit with that lethal heel, the Klingon cranium was proving tougher. As she continued her onslaught, Finn, who’d been traveling weaponless at Szeeraal’s suggestion for the meeting he was currently missing, searched for anything useful in the scrag-heaped street.

Spying something reminiscent of a 2x4 sticking up from the gutter, Harry snapped it up with his right hand and and turned, already swinging as the target slammed the bloodied girl into the wall behind him. She went down and Harry, something dark growing in his chest, went at the Klingon with no hesitation, bashing him in the broken arm once more, than straight up from that in a jaw-cracking uppercut and down again, to the back of the skull, repeating the last blow over and over until he was sure Dukath wouldn’t be rising anytime soon.

Once the enemy was out, he turned to the woman, crumpled on the soiled street and bleeding… bleeding green blood from her side and time hiccuped and he momentarily saw another Vulcan woman with a hole in her side but… that’s not why this one looked familiar.

“I know you,” he said, gently shifting her and deftly applying pressure to the most serious of her injuries. What was it? Share, Piece, Cut… Slice… “Slice Lev,” he brushed her hair back and yes, it was the pilot Gran and Ellison had gone on about at some length: Tanis Lev, who’d brought in the cavalry on Halcyon and whom he’d seen, from a distance, wandering the corridors of Hawking, after.

“Why the hell were you tailing me, Tanis?” And who had been in that limo? “Who’d do this to you?” he asked, not really expecting a response as he reached for the communicator where it rested under his jacket collar.

A cough escaped her lips, which turned into a deep hacking. More blood escaped with each heave. She started becoming light-headed, and Harry's image swam before her. If she didn't get medical attention soon, she'd be another notch in the Mistress' whip handle.

"She didn't…give a name. But she's into S&M. She and…her goon. I blinded him, but…she stabbed me.

I…followed you…for kicks." She managed a slight smile. Coughed again.

"But don't worry. Won't…happen again." She raised a hand to his cheek, felt the stubble raze her fingers. She'd never noticed how blue his eyes were.

"Thank you," she said.

Her hand dropped, smacked on the pavement, as the world spun around her. "Get me off…this carousel."

=/\=Starfleet Operations, I have a medical emergency at this signal, stabbing victim, possible concussion, looks like a perforated lung… request immediate transport to JS-Medical… =/\=

=/\=Starfleet Operations, we copy, stand by.=/\=

“That’s what I do,” Finn said as between one heartbeat and the next the dead air of the dead neighborhood was replaced by the overly bright antiseptic activity of the Outpost’s med center. In another few seconds the pilot was lifted from where he held her and onto a biobed and the dance of life began it’s quickstep to the rhythm of the doctor’s calls for plasma, Vulcan and the autosuture, STAT.

He stood back, waiting and, when the word ‘stable’ filtered past the flurry of bodies he turned away, almost running into a medic with a PADD and purposeful look about her.

“Sir, I need some information…”

“Right, okay,” damn.

“First, for the records, what is your name?”

“Marlowe, Philip Marlowe,” Harry shook his head, aghast, “I gotta tell you, I ain’t never seen anything like it… this poor kid, laying there on the street, no one around…”

“It can be a tough town, Mr. Marlowe… so, you don’t know the patient?”

“Gosh no,” Harry raised his right hand to scrub at his face and, seeing the drying green coating it, allowed his jaw to go slack, held his breath a moment, “I don’t feel so good,” he managed, finally, “I… d’you… is there….”

“Down that hall, take a right, two doors down on the left,” the medic wasn’t in the mood to deal with a puking wit, “And when you get back we can look at your elbow.”

“Yeah, okay, great,” was the pallid response as the tall, pasty-faced man raced down the hall.

It was twenty minutes before she realized he wasn’t coming back.


The pain gone, her mind cleared…and pondered the events of the evening. She could hardly believe what happened…had actually happened. And she'd almost died. Not that she hadn't been in mortal danger before, but it'd always been in the air, in space…not on the ground in a seedy side of town. And certainly not by some insane woman and a beefy accomplice. But it would make a hell of a story for the break room.

But what had Harry been doing there? She thought she'd lost him, but he obviously had come back. To see who was following him? And his fighting skills…amazing. Yeah, he was chief of security for a starship…but they usually concentrated on ship procedures, not CQB. She wondered if he was human at all…or augmented in some way.

Yes, there was something else to Harry. A lot of something else. And she wondered if had enough guts, literally, to find out what.

She put the thought from her head, having had enough excitement for one night…and placed a call to Captain Kaz to tell him of her plight.

Joint post between NPC Tanis Lev and Harry Finn
Originally Posted 4-24-2008 by Rhian Gaius

Red 22 Alpha
The Red Alert
February 1, 2384
22:33:22 Hours

Harry Finn entered The Red Alert as he entered every bar: externally he was all that was calm, his expression remote, his manner cool. Internally…

Internally a battle raged. The reek of various intoxicants well mixed with the sweat of a multitude of species were an unholy assault upon his olfactory recall, bringing him back to the days he’d spent drowning himself in ever-increasing quantities of ever-decreasing qualities of booze. The memory repulsed him even as the odors seduced.

Ignoring the current engagement being fought in his subconscious, he skimmed the room. It was packed but, for the hour (about half-past ‘happy’), remarkably well-behaved and surprisingly free of the gang influence. That was good for Harry because, at his contact’s request, he’d had to come in above-board - check your alias at the door, please.

It was like walking in naked.

Naked and late. After the delay caused by his interlude with Tanis Lev and Dukath and subsequent need to wash the blood off, he’d be lucky if this Hakisak guy was still around. Since he had no idea who he was looking for and standing around looking like you were looking for someone was a tactical no-no, Harry gave up and went to the source of all knowledge in a tavern: the bartender.

It took a few, because the place was slamming but when the busy drink slinger made his way to Finn, all it took was a, “Hey, I don’t know if my party is still here but…”

“You Finn?”

Harry blinked, “Ah, yeah.”

“Back of the room, private booth, you’ll find your guy waiting.”

This level of above-board was disconcerting, “Thanks… I’ll just…go, then…” and with that stellar closing line, Harry went to the back of the room and found a series of private booths, only one of which was curtained off from the rest of the bar. Someone inside had apparently been watching because a… hand… reached out and moved the heavy red fabric aside.

Finn headed towards the lump of material attached to that hand and then backed off, again. “You have got to be kidding,” he told it, wondering if there were someplace more open for this meet to happen. Szeeraal had said there was something extra about the guy but had neglected to mention that the ‘extra’ was a stench of toxic proportions.

The hat shifted and a pair of eyes, probably eyes, peered out of the murk of the booth. “You Finn?”

Harry felt actual tears forming, “If I am does this get less painful?”

Oddly, there was a sudden ease in the lung-suppressing stench, “If this becomes less painful, do you become more forthcoming?”

“I’m Finn,” taking shallow breaths and sliding into the booth opposite the being who had to be Haq Kly Haq. “Szeeraal said you had some information…” He considered the hulking form before him, recalling the Caitian’s words…

”There are perhaps two people in the Red Sector whom you may trust… Haq is one of them.”

“And you’re the other?”

She’d laughed at that, “Oh, no, not I. You may meet the other, before you are finished…” then her words trailed off. She didn’t know quite what Finn had planned but she seemed to sense something about how it was likely to end.

Haq considered that. “She said the same of you.”

Harry tilted his head, giving the hat with eyes a sidelong glance, “I’m not here to play a game of ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours…’”

There was a rumble from beneath the cloaking darkness that might have indicated a laugh, “Then why are you here?”

Harry, greatly daring, leaned forward, resting his right arm on the table… the left was still aching from it’s run in with an angry Klingon’s face. “I’m going to stop them,” he said, taking Szeeraal Lev’s words to heart, “the murders no one seems to care about. I’m going to make it stop.”

“Alone you think you’ll do this?”

Harry held the other being’s gaze, but said nothing.

“What makes you so confident?” Haq finally asked. “If I am to be open with you, you owe me your reasoning.”

“For one,” Harry said, remaining quite still, “I know the guy who’s doing it.”

The hiss warned him and Finn was out of reach before the four-fingered hand slapped down where his arm had been resting. “Tell me.”


“Why not?”

“Because I don’t think you’re ready to join the French Foreign Legion, just yet.”

That brought a small twitch as Haq withdrew his hand. “You make no sense.”

Harry looked down at the table, running his fingers over the fresh grooves where his arm had been, “Going after this guy is likely a one-way trip,” he said, raising his eyes, “and he’s not the final destination.”

Haq Kly Haq was no fool. Nor was he anyone’s pawn, no matter what part he played. “So you don’t really care about this killer that you profess to know… or his victims…”

This time the hiss came from Finn, “I care,” his voice was low, almost choked off from an old, old anger, “I care enough to want to peel the skin from his bones… except he’d probably enjoy it too much.” Reeling himself in he looked back down at the table. “But it’s also true I need to take him out in a way that undermines his connections. I need his fall to break the… circle.” He deliberately used the term, so common in Stearn’s communiques. If it meant anything beyond its root definition, he was willing to bet that the Shadow here would know.

“You aim too high,” was the opinion that wafted across the table on a foul breeze, confirming the suspicion.

Harry had to swallow hard to avoid puking right there.

“Not at first,” the Human managed, finally, “My first target is still the killer. He goes down, the foundations start to crumble.”

“Then already you have failed.”

Featuring NPC Haq Kly Haq
Originally Posted 4-25-2008 by Harry Finn

"Ahhhhhh… not herd me!" Several heads swung in their direction as Kerrin loudly opposed the very Jason tactic of just leaning against her to steer her body into the bar that she had intended to pass by. "Dammit Jason, I want to get to bed!" More heads swerved and a chuckle or two reached her ears. "No, no, noo…" Kerrin waved her hands at the bar. "not what I meant. I need sleep! If I don't sleep I can't concentrate!"

"Who needs sleep with a man like that?"

Kerrin rolled her eyes at the table of women clearly out for a night on the town. "You try doing what I do with no sleep…" More laughter in response to the reigning queen of inadvertent innuendo. "I am going to kill you." She hissed under her breath. Giving up she stalked to the bar and hopped on a bar stool. "Happy?" Then stuck her tongue out at the giggling women just swooning over Jason as he sauntered by their table with a conspiratorial wink.

Deftly avoiding her swinging legs (she was likely hoping for a kick that did not look premeditated) Jason slid onto the stool next to her and ordered for the both of them. "Lagavuilin 16, neat and the lady will have a Sauzz….a club soda." He amended at her glare. "Party pooper." Leaning in she thought he was going to kiss her, then he just stuck his hand into hair and messed it up.

"HEY! I actually brushed it today, leave it alone." Kerrin clenched her teeth, she wasn't actually angry and that was more than half of the problem. She never could stay angry at Jason, no matter how much she wanted to. Quite the opposite of Harry, even as her mind drifted in that direction she could feel her heart clench. Jerk. Was that the difference? Harry had actually meant something to her so he had the power to make her angry? Or was it just the basic differences in their personalities, Jason's charm made it impossible to hold a grudge no matter what, whereas Harry was just Harry…not that he didn't have charm, of a sort, or something that manifested as a draw as powerful as Jason's charm, he just seldom tried to use it. Thank god.

Jason still had no idea what 'difficult time' it was that Kerrin had been through, but every now and then he could watch it wash over her like the tide and pull her out to sea. Paying the bartender, then clinking his glass against hers to regain her attention, he watched her eyes refocus and a forced smile stretch her face. No good. What was also not good was how much he wanted to be able to erase that look. "A toast!" Swinging his glass to include his harem-to-be Jason eyes lit with mischief. "Here's to the women who love me terribly…may they soon improve."

"Oh god…do not encourage him." She directed at the giggling girlies, then Kerrin laughed in spite of herself. "You just can't help yourself can you?"

"On the contrary, I think I have been very good." Jason reached out to tuck a stray lock of hair, but this time he let his hand cup her cheek as he leaned closer. "How much time together and I haven't tried to kiss you?" He waited to see if she would close the short distance between them…so stubborn, then tipping her head slightly he gently brought his lips to meet hers.

Nothing…well, not nothing, Jason certainly knew how to kiss so it was more than pleasant, but other than the sweet tingle of feeling wanted….nothing. Maybe I won't be able to feel anything for anyone til the Harryache goes away. Kerrin tried, actually tried to lose herself in the kiss, it just didn't seem to work. A flash of the emptiness she had first noticed in Harry's eyes now reflected in her heart. Her lips, which had begun to curve at the melodramatic image twisted into a full smile as Jason drew back and smiled down at her. Sweet baby Jesus, he is handsome…what is wrong with me?

"Well it was worth a shot." He tugged on her nose to be a general annoyance, then sat back and sipped his drink. "And not saying that I won't give it another one a little further down the line…" That damn glint in his eyes reappeared. "I don't know if you got the memo…I am irresistible." Jason raised his voice just enough. "Right ladies?" Rewarded by the squeals of hilarity from the adjacent table he refocused the 1000 watt smile on Kerrin.

Thank god he didn't really believe his own hype, there would be no living near him. "Yup, irresistible…watch me swoon." Not being able to pass up the game, Kerrin, one hand pressed to her forehead slid sideways on her barstool and draped herself in a mock-faint across his lap. She stayed there for a moment, then a small whimper was heard. "Erm…I think I am stuck."

"Smooth, very smooth Schaeffer." Reaching down Jason picked her back up and set her on the barstool. "If ya can't bark with the big dogs, you better stay on the porch."

"Speaking of porches…" A lame segue to be sure. "it is time to take me home. I need to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to work on your new find tomorrow." Grabbing his hand, Kerrin pulled Jason to his feet and toward the door. "You ladies want me to send him back when I am done with him?" Laughing out loud at their raucous response she pulled him toward the door. "You heard the ladies, lets get going so you have enough energy to deal with them later."

JP featuring NPC's Kerrin Schaeffer and Jason Hallows
Originally Posted 4-25-2008 by T'Shaini

Red 22 Alpha
The Red Alert
February 1, 2384
22:54:18 Hours

“Then already you have failed.”

Before Harry could begin to protest, Haq added, “This killer does not hunt alone,” again the hand boasting only four digits slid into view and subtracted half as he held it up, “there are two involved in these butcheries. I have had this much confirmed recently, by a reliable source.”

Harry frowned, “That goes against profile,” he said, “It’s not his MO to share. This guy liked to keep his toys to himself.”

Haq pulled his hand back to his side of the table, “That may once have been the case,” the leather shrugged, “Now, he has a companion, a Dark Lady who shares his dark desires…” and he continued on to tell the short but bloody history of a mad duet, shredding their way through the undersides of the Habitat to the music of women’s screams.

Sara had screamed, Harry remembered… Acker had shared that much, months ago… he dragged his thoughts away from her, back to the present and this new intelligence.

When Haq’s gory report ended, the Human closed his eyes, ignoring the silent glare of his companion. Gavin Booth, along with Sims Al-Kar and Charles Champe Stearns, Acker’s new persona, had become closely affiliated with several members of the Cygnian ambassadorial staff. He’d met one, Jessyn Breeshandra, to whom Al-Kar was more than a little attached. Harry deliberately shied away from Mylla Szado, the diplomat who had been seen often in the company of Stearns.

But Booth, now, Booth was known to have become the shadow of one Neishi Fabria, who was, as Finn recalled her image, indeed dark.

A dark lady.

Tanis had been stabbed by a woman… no way of knowing if Gavin had been in the car…

“I may have a bead on your Dark Lady,” he said aloud, opening his eyes to the hooded glare of Kly Haq. “She’ll be tougher to bring in… legally.” He’d have to check the whole diplomatic immunity thing but, where there was a will… Haq was still staring, still waiting, “But if she’s as bloody as you think she is, I’ll make sure she goes down with her partner.”

Haq considered. “Still alone?”

“Still alone,” Harry confirmed, then, “Tell me about circles.”

“You aim too high,” the dark one repeated his warning but before Finn could press added, “Still, you are taking aim. I will tell you what I can but there is a price.”

“Isn’t there always?”

“You should find this affordable enough.” Then Haq Kly Haq, who was the last of his kind, removed his hat, that Finn could see his face when he named it, “I want their names. I won’t touch them until you have failed… but once you have…”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” though, staring into eyes which spoke of incalculable loss, Harry finally gave a short nod, “I’ll make sure they’re available to you… if I fail… then they’re all yours. Meanwhile, maybe you and your source can spread the word… someone’s hunting, don’t be the prey… if we can make it hard for them to get their fix, they might start to make mistakes.” And maybe a few less women would end up in the gutter.

“I can… try… though I cannot promise anyone will listen,” The bat-like face flashed a rueful smile before the hat was replaced, “Now, as to the Circle,” and now Harry could hear the capital ‘C’, “it is hidden; unless you know where it is, or are with someone who knows where it is… it cannot be found.”

Finn once more leaned forward and listened as Haq spun a tale of power living in the heart of darkness.

Featuring NPC Haq Kly Haq
Originally Posted 4-25-2008

Turning back around to toss one more wave at the envious gaggle Kerrin's hand froze mid-air as she spotted a figure outlined against a curtained alcove. Harry. Her heart leaped as she automatically stepped forward, eyes catching for a brief instant only to have him look away from her as if she didn't exist. Kerrin felt Jason's arm encircle her shoulders as her knees buckled with pain. …as if I didn't even exist… Numb with misery, Kerrin barely noticed Jason guide her out the doorway and into a cab to take them back to their quarters.

Jason's arms outstretched to catch Kerrin, she stumbled so often the gesture was ingrained…but this felt different. Looking up in the direction she had been moving his eyes connected with a familiar looking man…the guy from Pan's Table…Finn? The origin of her 'difficult time' now made clear, Jason felt an unaccustomed anger surface at the bland reaction Kerrin's obvious pain elicited from it's source.

"Come on honey, let me take you home."

One look back over his shoulder showed that Finn was gone.


JP by NPCs Kerrin Schaeffer and Jason Hallows
Originally Posted 4-25-2008 by T'Shaini

ed 22 Alpha
The Red Alert
February 1, 2384
23:27:49 Hours

It had been like stepping from one nightmare into another. After Haq Kly Haq had left Finn to ruminate over the seeming impossibility of gaining entrance to the hidden Circle which sheltered Stearns, he’d finally risen to escape the claustrophobic booth only to see…

Kerrin Schaeffer, sitting next to Jason Hallows and laughing with him, as if over some old, shared joke and then, then as he watched, Hallows caressed her cheek, leaning in to press his lips over hers and for several moments after, Harry didn’t see anything for the red that coated his vision.

Don’t look at her the dream Torrik’s admonition cracked through his skull like a shot, just as he came back enough to see Kerrin, vibrant, happy, full of promise, dragging Hallows to the door.

Don’t look at her, again the warning and he knew, after everything he’d learned from Haq… from the bodies found all over the Habitat, from the grievously wounded Tanis and most of all from what had gone before, Sara… he knew that Torrik was right… dream or not he was right. Even as that conviction took hold Kerrin turned, caught him looking at her and in that brief space he thought he could see the specter of what would follow if he held her gaze, accepted that promise.

So he looked away. Not fast enough to miss her reaction, or the loss-poisoned arrow of guilt that followed as she slumped into another man’s arms. Not fast enough to miss the glare of accusation from that other man.

It was for the best, he told himself, ducking back into the alcove and staring at the empty table, wishing it held a glass; Hallows cared for her and from what he’d seen, she cared back.

Don’t look at her…

He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t look at her; wouldn’t think of Kerrin or her dusky laugh or her sea-green eyes or the brief, bright spar of hope he’d thought her to be.

He would look to the darkness, and leave Jason Hallows the light.

Originally Posted 4-25-2008 by Harry Finn

Yellow 28 Beta
“Condo Row” - Unit 13-9-SE
February 1, 2384
23:31:06 Hours

Gavin Booth whistled as he crossed the threshold of his digs, interrupting the jaunty tune just long enough to call for “Lights to half,” before picking up the impromptu, if somewhat off-key, melody once more as he peeled off his jacket and headed towards the bathroom to clean up.

It was too bad about the shirt, which went straight into the recycler but, when Neishi had called on him to rectify the error which had been her ‘assistant’, a walking mountain of flesh known only as Grunt, there had been no way to avoid a certain amount of splatter.

Well, he grinned at his reflection as steam rose in billows around him, there might have been a way but he’d always found that approach so… impersonal. Practice had him sloughed and pure as the driven slush in record time, only slowing to really scrub out the abrasions from the aftermath, aka the personal thank you Neishi had administered so deftly there in that rubbish-strewn corner of the dead street, meters away from the remains. It had been dark where they were, dark enough that he could only just make out the bruising along her jaw as he exploited its tenderness to her gratified hisses.

Too bad about the bird getting away, though. That could be trouble for them, if the half-Vulcan managed to survive the knife Neishi had planted in her. No names had been exchanged in the limo, but that didn’t mean the skirt wouldn’t remember a face. Contingency plans raced through his skull as he wrapped a towel around himself and headed towards the bedroom, feet sinking into the deep pile of the hall carpet.

“Shit,” he paused, reaching down to pull something out of his left heel, trembling slightly at the mixed signals such sensations always inspired. Ignoring the blood welling from his pierced sole, he straightened, staring at the small magnetic badge. It was the official insignia of the Orion Embassy but Gavin’s was sitting in his room, on the bureau…

Holding onto the sanguine decoration, Booth entered his room and double checked but there it was, where he’d left it before he’d responded to Neishi’s call. He never wore the decoration when he did wet work… too incriminating, should it be lost.

Tossing the newly-discovered pin into the air, he returned to the hall where he’d found it. The only other person who wore this symbol and had access to Booth’s residence was Sims but, with one thing and another, his blood brother hadn’t been to the condo in almost a month. The place had been cleaned twice since then… no way the building’s rabidly spic and span service would have missed the article… when those females cleaned, they cleaned with a vengeance.

Gavin stared at the floor, at the small spot of blood from his foot then, following his instinct, his eyes skimmed the over the pile of the rug.

“Lights on full,” he ordered and… there it was… a set of footprints, larger than his own, not yet released from the plush carpet’s memory. Staring hard, he saw how the owner of the prints had entered the hallway and stopped, turning towards the wall… right where the requisite piece of crappy modern art that the decorator had insisted on was hanging.

Stepping into the slightly deeper tread, Booth found himself staring at that picture. He reached out, not even thinking, and lifted the frame just enough to find the waiting piece of tech where it rested against the canvas.

Standing in the hallway, bug in one hand and badge in the other, Gavin Booth forgot everything else as he stared down at the twin signs of betrayal from the one being in all the galaxy he trusted.


Post featuring NPC Gavin Booth
Originally Posted 4-28-2008 by Harry Finn

Transcription Lab
Erasmus/Kendrassi dig

Kerrin rubbed her eyes, once again she felt herself staring blindly at a row of pictographs while her mind wandered to the night before. Of all the gin joints.. A pang of loss constricted her breathing…why did she always seem to want what she couldn't have. There was Jason, handsome, charming, funny, smart and right in front of her (not that anything with Jason would ever be permanent but that was moot since she just didn't seem to care) and all she could see when she closed her eyes was Harry. Guarded, emotionally remote, unavailable Harry.


"Something wrong?" Xer, as always, alert to any way he might be of assistance, was at her elbow in a moment.

"No…well yes, but…no." Ah….well that was clear.

"Anything I can do?"

Kerrin shook her head. "No. Thank you though." Kindliness, thy name is Xer. Bending her head to return to her work minutes passed as she attempted to piece together symbols from a distant time, hoping that one more look would bring that 'eureka' moment that always seemed to jumpstart her most productive times.

Xer watched her as he organized the lab…she looked so sad, normally when she was working there was a frown of concentration, almost as if she was angry the answer wouldn't leap from the stones. Today, she just looked sad and distracted. She went out to dinner with that Jason guy…what did he do? Seeing her rub her eyes for the millionth time today he sidled over closer and worked his special talent, the talent to hover unobtrusively…like sneaking up on a wild animal…you never knew what people would reveal when you stayed just on the edge of their notice.

Recriminations warring with rationalizations in her head made it near to impossible to concentrate. She wanted so badly to believe that it had nothing to do with her, or that his coldness was to protect her from whatever he was doing. This was a plausible explanation given his past behavior and knowing what he was up to. Hope springs eternal. Kerrin shook her head…looking for excuses only prolongs the hurt.

"So, our 'mutual acquaintance'…" Kerrin ventured as casually as she could manage.

"Yeah?" Ohh and the fish begin to bite.

"Do you know what he is up to?"

Xer looked sorrowfully at Kerrin…at least she thought he did, it was tough to tell sometimes.

"No, all I know is that he asked me to keep an eye on you while he was…doing whatever he was doing." Watching the Doctor's eyes light up was almost worth having Harry tear him into little teeny pieces if he found out Xer said anything.

"He did?" Kerrin's eyes darted back to the table. "Is he alright? I mean…whatever he is doing is dangerous…I am assuming."

"Uhh, yeah…I guess so." He couldn't tell her what he didn't know. Xer saw Kerrin deflate and, eager to please, scrambled for something else to say. "I do know that whatever it was he was up to, it was dangerous enough that he didn't want me involved when I offered."

"Oh…oh god." Kerrin's hands covered her face. Sinking down onto the stool Kerrin stared at the wall as terrifying images of the last few weeks flickered across her vision. "Oh god, he is really going after Acker…" Not that she didn't know before…but somehow it was all brought home.

Xer wrung his hands as Kerrin crumbled before his eyes. "Sorry, sorry…I shouldn't have said anything." Clumsily he reached out and patted her back.

Something in his voice unlocked the hurt she had held at bay since Harry had walked out of the bar in the Hawking and one tear slid down her cheek, followed by another, then another. Suicidal sonofabitch…revenge more important than anything…or anybody. Tears continued to flow in frustration as much as grief. She hated it, she hated crying, hated the feeling of impotence, Kerrin was used to being able to dig in and 'fix' and having no control made everything worse. "Gah…gross, sorry…" Reaching blindly for something to wipe her eyes her hand was quickly filled with a tissue, compliments of Xer. Wiping her eyes and blowing her nose (crying prettily was for other women) Kerrin lifted the corners of her mouth in a watery smile. "Thanks."

"So Hallows…"



Sighing, she rubbed her tear-reddened face and nodded. "Stupid…I am so stupid." Blowing her bangs out of her eyes Kerrin scooted the stool back in to her table to take another swing. Triangular variations…how many are there?

Xer watched Kerrin settle back into her work, really settle this time, not just pretend, and allowed a small smile to brighten his dour features. Although the little tidbit he had picked up the other night was pretty sweet, he had a sneaking suspicion that this might be of even more interest to Harry Finn.

JP featuring NPCs Kerrin Schaeffer and Xer
Originally Posted 4-29-2008 by T'Shaini

//New Hope, Pennsylvania - Earth
Finn Household
February 1, 2381

Winter in the Pennsylvania forest could still be a bitch but for Harry, bringing Sara home for a little quiet leave before the next big push on the case, the sub-zero temps and thigh-deep snow were just part of the fun. Especially now, standing by the picture window of the living room with a beer and watching her cavorting in the mess of white with his family. The snow Klingon having collapsed under too much sculptured armor, the first snowballs had been formed and now Harry took a long drink and waited for the initial volley.

“You’re not joining the battle?” his mother, Rosa, joined him at the window, smiling over the impending war between Will and Anna’s clans, with Sara joining Will’s team since they had only two children to Anna’s three (even if that third child still had to be held up out of the snow by her daddy).

“Too early,” Harry placed an arm around his mom’s shoulders, “no point diving in before the third engagement.”

“Always the tactician,” Rosa elbowed her middle child playfully, “You like watching her,” she added, looking out on the yard and the woman her son had brought home.

Harry didn’t say anything but his eyes did remain fixed on the slender red-head, who’d just fallen on her ass beneath a barrage of snowballs and was laughing like a loon.

Rosa knew better than to press but she was, after all, a mother, “I’m glad you brought Sara,” she said casually.

“Me too,” he said, watching the way she wrestled with Ted and Elise, tickling the kids as much as possible through the mittens and layers of clothing.

“Maybe you can come for a longer visit, the two of you, after this case closes…”

“After the case closes, she’ll probably be shipped back to her old post,” he responded absently though, who knew? Once they had Acker locked down, and she wasn’t technically under his command, anymore, maybe they could look at… other options.

Outside Sara had stumbled up and started to brush the snow from herself with the excited assistance of four-year old Jessica. Sensing something, her laughing brown eyes rose to meet his through the glass and as she did something inside him turned and, holding that gaze, he thought that once they’d finished the job and Acker was no longer selling Starfleet intelligence, maybe… just maybe he could look at a life outside the uniform.

A life with…

He smiled, drained the beer and looked down at his mother, “Now it’s time,” he said and she knew he was talking about far more than a snowball fight.//


The Red Alert
February 1, 2384
23:38:28 Hours

Three years to the day from that snow-filled escape, Finn stared at the coffee he’d ordered when it became clear to the waitress that the morose Human wasn’t going to be leaving the booth after his companion, AKA the walking stinkbomb, departed.

He stared at the coffee but what he saw was Kerrin, moving away from him… no, towards Hallows… which was what he’d wanted, right? Well, maybe not the Hallows part… no man in his right mind would actively wish for that kind of competition but, shit, it wasn’t a competition, was it? It was… it was…

It was what it was. Kerrin deserved a life… a life free from terror and blood and the poisonous shadow that Acker had first cast over Harry back on Earth. She deserved some happiness and as long as she never came near Harry (the Reaper) Finn, she could have it.

Abruptly his arm moved, knocking the mug aside and splashing still-hot coffee over the back of his hand but the burn the scalding liquid caused was nothing compared to the gaping wound he felt at the loss of something he never should have had.

Get a grip he told the pain.

Bite me, the pain responded.

Yeah, this was going well.

“You okay?” Traeeal swept in and had the spilled beverage mopped up in a thrice then hovered uncertainly over the man, who was hands-down the most depressed customer in her section, if not the bar. “Do you need some ice or…”

“I’m fine,” he didn’t bother looking up.

“Right. Well, just wave if you need…”

“I won’t.”

And nerts to you, too, she thought, flouncing off. If the guy weren’t such a good tipper she’d likely have had Ghemmy toss him just for being such an ass… she glanced back at the brittle excuse for a man… or not. Heading back to the bar for the next pickup on that table of annoyingly high-pitched females, she couldn’t help but wonder just what, or who, could have left him that… broken.

Originally Posted 5-1-2008 by Harry Finn

BLUE Sector
Blue 21 Beta - 11
“The Moons of Shalamara”
February 1, 2384
19:45:50 Hours

For someone barely 3 feet tall the club’s Coridanian (concierge? door-woman? maî•tre d'hôtel? ) hostess-greeter was expert at looking down a nose you…or at least she thought was a good foot long while looking up at Slater and Daka from the level of Slater’s cumberbund.

“Slater…Slate-tur…” She glanced up through glossy black bangs (like an old fashion ink-colored awning over a forehead that would’ve given the Frankenstein monster pangs of jealous envy)…making that superior sniffing sound that drove Slater nuts…while pretending to scan the list of reservations on a small viewing monitor attached to her hostess’ station.

“Slater…Slate-tur and…” she lifted a look of barely concealed green-eyed resentment (disguised as snobbish disdain) at the lofty and luscious Daka, “…company. . Slater. ..Ah, here we are…”She made a series of entries on a keypad on her right wrist, perused the text that scrolled up the small screen, and looked up at them once more. “You are late, Mr. Slater. Your reservation was for 1930 hours. It is now…”

“I know what time it is!” Slater snapped, instantly catching himself (prompted by the gouge of Daka’s nails in his bicep). “Look. ..we got here five minutes early and because of”…he waved a hand at the crowd and frenzy unfolding around them… “this we got stuck here, standing in line, for fifteen minutes because you can’t even get up to the damn—-”

Daka cleared he throat, gouging him again…much harder this time. “I was sooo looking forward to tonight, dear. Can we just get to our table…” She paused to eye the snobbish hostess, smiling sweetly. “It is still available, isn’t?”

“Well, you see, we are quite busy this evening, and…” the Cordanian began.

“Yes, I can see you are,” Daka cut in, throwing a glance over her shoulder. “And there are still several people waiting behind us. We wouldn’t want to hold things up further… .So I’m sure there is something you can do to help us…Something…isn’t there?”

Catching the emphasis placed on the word ‘something’, Slater quickly, and covertly dipped into the handy hidden pocket inside the cuff of his left jacket sleeve and palmed a pair of 50 credit gold Latinum strips. A move which, of course, the hostess’ greed sharpened eyes did not miss.

“Is there something you can do, Miss?” Daka continued, eying Slater’s loosely closed fist.

“Something in the main room,” Slater took up the thread. “Somewhere comfortable but…unassuming?”

Twitching an almost nonexistent eyebrow, the Hostess swung back to her station and made a show of consulting the view screen again. “Why yes….there is. As a matter of fact, your original reservation is still open.”

“Wonderful,” Daka beamed and smoothly accepted the transfer of duckets from Slater. She disentagled from his crooked arm and moved forward to take one of the Hostess’ tiny bronzed hands, finalizing the exchange. “Thank you…so much.”

“It is my pleasure to serve,” the Hostess replied, turning to precede them into the club.

Red Sector
Outside The Red Alert
February 1, 2384

He’d exited the bar shortly after the waitress had left him to his (admit it) pointless wallowing. Not like there were any huge surprises here. He’d left Kerrin behind on the Hawking with no expectation of being part of her future. Just because she’d shown up on-planet didn’t negate the original leaving… just made her moving on a little more in-your-face than he’d hoped.

Whatever. It was time to get it in gear. Harry had places to go, things to do, people to… be.

At least, that was the plan but stepping out into the mellow warmth of the Red Sector, he was distracted by the vibrant info-column at the corner of the block. With a short glance around himself he closed distance to see the inanely smiling face of none other than Gary Cowling, gossip-monger to the stars (literally) and source of all useless knowledge.

Useless for most people. Harry had found his reports to be remarkably insightful, especially when it came to circles. Crossing his arms over his chest he listened to the current report while the rest of the late-night crowd filtered past the jabbering vid.

“… has certainly been a ‘must be seen’ night at The Moons of Shalamara. The ‘it’ club has hosted the cream of the Jericho-Samaria crop since its inception but never before have so many dignitaries, high rollers and barracudas of business crossed its exclusive threshold in one evening. Is it the sign of some interplanetary wheeling and dealing? Early wagering on the outcome of the disputed Megiddo Regatta? Could politics be on the menu for the evening?”

The smarmy columnist was laying it on so thick that Harry was feeling the need for waders. Finn was about to turn away when the holographer’s camera crossed over one sedately elegant couple climbing the steps of the much-vaunted club.

The susurration of rising burning fury all but deafened him to Cowling’s continued speculations. His eyes were locked on the couple until they disappeared into the finely-etched glass doors and then they darted up to note the time-stamp on the report. 19:55:31, this date. There was a chance they’d still be there.

Mylla Szado and escort… Charles Champe Stearns… they could still be there.

Previous plans shunted to the rear, Harry made for the tube and immediate transport to the Blue Sector and the chance to see him, face to face.

Blue 21 Beta - 11
“The Moons of Shalamara”
February 1, 2384
21:00:00 Hours

“Miss me?” Daka bent to whisper in his ear after gently scraping one long fingernail across the nape of his neck to announce her return.

For the sake of appearances, they’d stayed put at their table—-playing the role of the comfortable (…if not wholly affectionate) lovers out for a night on the town—-long enough to order a round or two of drinks (Earth champagne) and share a few laughs with fellow patrons over the stale, recycled stand up monologue of the club’s featured comic. Then, Daka had made her break. Under the pretense of visiting the Ladies Room, she’d gone on a recon and intell gathering sweep of the club’s other areas…Specifically the Roman baths, in-house brothel, and casino. Slater, meanwhile, took the time to observe the ebb and flow of activity in the main room. And an interesting and informative time it was, to be sure.

“I was beginning to wonder,” he answered. “Run into anyone I know?”

“She’s here,” said Daka. “And working her own program. Right now she’s with with one of the low-level attachés from the Ardanian embassy…in the bath house section. Her security is a pair of Orion torques. I couldn’t see what they’re packing but they are hard…”

Daka stopped when their waitress appeared, allowing her to clear their table and take fresh orders. “It’s obvious all the buzz on the streets have some substance to it,” she said when the waitress departed. “Look at this place. I don’t imagine they’re always this busy.”

“Or this popular,” Slater agreed. “That ‘something big’ they’ve been talking about…I’d say it’s already happened. There’s at least mid-range hoods here from three-fourths of all the Brotherhoods, the Yridians, Ferengi Alliance, Dominion.…”

“Dominion? What are they doing mixing with the cartels?”

“What kinda intell they feeding you guys these days?” Slater chuckled. “The Dominion was…still is to a degree, more about business than war and conquest before the Changelings came into the organization. There’s still a handful of fairly large groups on the perimeter of the Dominion core who are no different than the Orions or Earth’s Mobs. And it looks like they’re gearing up to get back into the swing.

“Mob reps hob knobbing with diplomats from most of the United Federtion memberworlds…and all the Gamma Quadrant delegates……plus,” He jerked his head to their left. “Front row table, center…”

Daka craned forward, squinting. “I recognize the woman. Cygnian ambassador…Mylla Szado. But the guy…doesn’t ring any bells.”

“Charles Champe Stearns,” Slater identified him. “The reason our man Harry Finn has chosen to visit our little vacation spot… .”

Sater gave her knee a squeeze as he rose and adjusted his clothing. “Keep an eye on them. If I’m not back inside thirty minutes… .contact Wolfe or Doyle for further instructions.”

Joint post with Harry Finn, featuring NPC's Ray Don Slater and Daka, FDoJ Undercover
Originally Posted 5-12-2008 by Toryn Kaz

It never ceased to amaze how, no matter how tight the security up front, the kitchens were always as open as a prostitute's front… door.

Harry had made a brief stop at the shack… office, of Anthony Crowley, where he was surprised by no small number of service requests… if he ever needed a new livelihood, it looked like the pest control business was always booming. He didn’t take time to review the messages, just grabbed some props and a pair of coveralls and crossed to the ritzier section of the Blue Sector, around the back of the much vaunted Moons of Shalamara and straight into the kitchen, ducking in when some hapless waiter came out for a smoke.

“‘Scuse me!” he’d announced in the most booming voice possible, “I’m looking for the kitchen manager… got a request for immediate pest service!”

“Keep your voice down,” a positively fluttering Talaxian came at Harry, his hair all but flattened by the steam erupting from what looked to be a Vesuvian cauldron… Finn could swear he saw a tendril trying to crawl out of the thing. “This is an exceptionally high end establishment,” the sweating manager hissed, “we do not have pest problems.”

“That so?” Harry snapped the gum he’d popped into his mouth just prior to his entrance, “Then whattaya call that?” he jerked his chin towards the nearest counter, where a burly Grazerite in a chef’s tunic was rolling out a violet-hued pastry of some sort… until he caught sight of possibly the biggest chraz’ne ever to roam the desert, much less the dessert.

Before the shaking pastry chef could recover enough to nail the beast with his pin, the twelve-legged creature had scuttled off for greener pastures. Literally, it was heading towards the salad bar.

“But…I… you…”

“No worries, chum,” Harry assured the poor schmuck, “that’s why they call in the professionals. I’ll have that bleeder out of your hair in no time, and make sure there’s no other little surprises waiting for the guests, eh?” he nudged the wide-eyed middle manager in the ribs as he removed his hand from the pocket where the holoremote rested.

“Of course, of course, Mr…”

“Magnum,” Harry filled the gap.

“Of course, Mr. Magnum but, please understand this is a very important night and our guests must not be inconvenienced in any way.”

“Not a problem,” ‘Magnum’ winked, “Didn’t I mention, ‘discrete' is my middle name,” and with that he was on the move, “Yup, that’s me, Thomas Discrete Magnum.”

He spent about fifteen minutes ‘debugging’ the kitchen before he slipped out into the service hallway. At the first utility closet he passed, discretely hidden behind a fake Yridian palm, he dropped the coveralls, spat out the gum and adjusted his tailored jacket before joining the high and mighty of Jericho-Samaria in the main lounge of The Moons of Shalamara.

“The Moons of Shalamara”
Sauna, Spa & Bathhouse Area
21:00:00 Hours[/size]

“Well I’’ll be blessed naked and go’ta hell and back,” a familiar voice boomed from just inside the spa’s steamy interior. Slater didn’t need to see the face that belonged to the voice…Nor did he necessarily want to for that matter. Necessary, as it turned out, was the operative word, however. He…they stood between him and the person he had come to see.

Security. As in personal ‘jammers’—-body guards in the vernacular of the occupation. One Orion…thin as malnutrition walking and with a face that made a fleshless skull look chubby. One Trill, an un-spotted Alpha…Didn’t see very many of those off-world, let alone working the ‘jam’ trade. And, finally, one undeniably Human. An old acquaintance for sorts.

A wall of flesh and blood stuffed into a white dinner jacket ensemble (moving straight for Slater with his massive paws flexing) named AsbjÖrn Bbjornstrand…a 6 foot 9 ½ inch, 300-plus pound bonafide son of Sweden so blond as to be just a sneeze short of albino. ÁsbjÖrn…It meant “divine bear” in the Swedish form of Old Norse. And the ‘divine’ aspect notwithstanding, he was just that: a Bear—-big, powerful, and, when necessary, dangerous…

…Like now.

No…moreso now. Inasmuch as the last time the two had shared the same general space Slater cracked two of his ribs, broke his nose, and left him trussed up like a Martian “working girl” on Fetish Night.

And either he’d misunderstood Daka or her basic Math was as bad as a politician’s promise. He was sure she’d said there were only two guards…A pair. As in the two at the spa door he’d taken out with sleeper darts. Bu then, he could give all of the blame to his Chameloid associate. He’d known the habits of the person he intended to visit for well over a decade and two things she was not were conventional and predictable.

“You still upset with me, Bear?” Slater smiled toothily, slowly turning on the balls of both feet to present the approaching behemoth with his profile, and as slender a target as possible.

“Upset? No…uh-uh. Not upset,” The Bear slowed his advance, bringing both beefy hands together…fingers interlocked…to crack his knuckles. A move which must have been a prearranged signal because, a moment later, his cohorts also began to move. Both fanned outward, wide, and prepared to circle I on him from the left and right.

“I wanna rip out your vertebrae and use it to clean the dirt out of my fingernails,” the Bear went on. “Punch a hole in you and pull out your heart through your bellybutton…But I am not upset. In fact… …”

The Trill and Orion jammers were closer now, neither farther away than a meter from both his shoulders, and both reaching into their jackets… . .

“In fact…being angry with you would take away the pleasure I am going to experience each time you scream in pain, Slaughter…”

“Did…he just…call you…” the Trill started… .

“…Slaughter?” …the Orion finished the query. “Slaughter…the jammer? The Rainbow War Slaughter…?”

“Slater…that Slaughter?” the Trill added.

Slater’s smiled broadened. “And if I say yes…that mean we cancel this dance and talk about this like adults, guys?”

The Trill and Orion dipped beneath their jackets, the former bringing out a hand filled with a Romulan Disruptor, the latter a Breen Disrupter IV. And the Bear just shook and head and sped up his forward advance.

“Crap…” Slater murmured.

He stuck to the shadows of the bar proper, watching the play of bodies roaming about the main lounge and noting, with dark curiosity, that Myla Szado and escort were planted quite firmly front and center. More than that, they were, in the deceptively Brownian motion of the club, the gravitational hub. Even now, as he watched, back to the bar and cover drink in hand, another pair, these looking more government than syndicate, stopped by the table and offered, what, homage?

Nods and smiles all around, a gentle handshake between the males, soft touches of the hand by the females and the audience was over. Harry straightened, thinking to move closer but just then the stage upon which the various lounge acts had been playing out receded, sliding away from a burnished platinum and gold-tiled dance floor. What was left of the stage itself was soon filled with a uniformed orchestra, straight out of a 1940’s Terran swing club, if a 1940’s Terran swing club would have included a Denobulan on bass, a Ferengi tenor sax and a Bolian conductor, among others. They made for a colorful group and after a quick tune up, began playing some relatively inoffensive music… apparently it had a good beat and you could dance to it because about a half-dozen of the more daring couples (and a triple or two) made it to the floor to start wearing down their well-heeled shoes.

All this was peripheral to Finn, shadows highlighting the activity, or lack thereof, at the table in question. The table where Stearns, who was Acker, was now leaning closer to the ambassador, revealing to any who might notice that he… cared… for her. Cared enough that the remade man didn’t even notice Harry Finn lurking balefully in the corner.

Did she know? Harry had to wonder, watching, unconsciously moving closer, though instinctively staying behind the relative concealment of one of the many oversized plants strewn throughout the lounge. Did she know what he’d done to another woman, to Hawthorn? How he’d shredded her mind and ravaged her body and then used her to murder four… no, five (even Boyce, who by reports made his own grave, wouldn’t have been on the hull were it not for Acker) of Hawking’s crew. And those were just the latest deaths which could be attributed to the dapper don currently taking tribute near the dance floor.

Did she know?

Did she care?

Even as the thought crossed his mind, Mylla Szado’s eyes rose to meet his and there was a sudden whisper in the air to his right. Turning to meet it, Harry experienced the telltale pressure of, huh… felt like a standard Federation Type 1 phaser… against his right kidney.

“They’ll let anyone into this joint.”

“Yeah,” Finn agreed, looking meaningfully at Sims Al-Kar, who was, of course, holding the phaser, “they will.”

Joint post with Ray Don Slater, FDoJ Undercover
Originally Posted 5-13-2008 by Harry Finn

“The Moons of Shalamara”
Private Bath & Sauna Area
21:08:30 Hours

The Trill and Orion dipped beneath their jackets, the former bringing out a hand filled with a Romulan Disruptor, the latter a Breen Disruptor IV. And the Bear just shook his head and sped up his forward advance.

“Crap…” Slater murmured.

The sudden sloshing of water was immediately followed by a loud and echoey female, “vittujen kevät ja kyrpien takatalvi! Nussia!” Then in Federation Standard: “Alright Alright Al-RIGHT!”

The three advancing forms instantly halted in their tracks.

“You know…” she continued. “As much as I would enjoy watching some Human mulkku jätkä' soil his trousers in fear for his life…in this case I don’t see that happening.”

“There’s three of us, Mrs. D. Only one of him,” the Orion spoke up, his weapon’s muzzle aimed in the general vicinity of Slater’s head of left shoulder.

“suksi vittuun!” she growled. “Speak out of turn again, you lerppu…and I will have your pathetic little kyrpä placed in a jar and added to my collection… .Besides, I know this particular jätkä and I seriously doubt that two of you would survive the fight. I have no desire to waste more money than has already been spent in hiring replacements…and the fact that he is here means I have already lost your two guards in the corridor, Mr. Bbjornstrand.”

“Sleeping…not lost,” Slater put in, winking as he made eye contact with the ‘death glaring’ Bear. “They should be OK in about ten-fifteen minutes.”

The lurched closer, big hands poised to curl around Slater’s neck. “I owe this flänsost, Mrs. D! Owe him big time. Juist give me three minutes…Two and I can—-”

“Hevon vittu, Bbjornstrand! What you can…and will do is get you and your men outside, check on the other two, and standby until I have need of you.”

“And leave you alone with…him?”

“Do not make me tell you twice, Mr. Bbjornstrand… .I have no illusions that if Mr. Slater wanted to do me harm he would not have just…strolled in here in the open…Now go. I will call if I need you.”

Reluctantly, the blond Bear lowered his hands and straightened him, angling a final malevolent look at Slater before noddin to his subordinates. The Trill and the Orion reholstered their weapons and moved toward the door, with a low grumbling Bbjornstrand in tow.

Al-Kar was pressing the phaser hard enough to bruise but Harry wasn’t moving. “Come on, Finn,” he said, his voice dripping with disdain, “did you really think you could just traipse into this club, no invite, no contacts, no friends and expect to walk out, again?”

“As a matter of fact, I kinda did,” Harry rolled his eyes at the muscle. “Still do, since I don’t think even you are low enough on the IQ scale to try and off a guy in the middle of half the dignitaries in the sector. Phaser fire and bodies can so ruin a party.”

“You’ve been going to the wrong kind of parties,” Sims grinned back, shifting so his back was to the lounge, effectively covering Harry’s avenue of escape, “and I don’t have to kill you… here…” he leaned in close, as if offering a confidence, “All it takes is a quick stun, ‘oh, poor guy, can’t hold his liquor, don’t worry, I’ll take care of him…’ And I would, too,” he promised, “I’d take real good care of you.”

Harry’s eyes narrowed as he felt the hum of power building against his ribs: if he were going to move, it had to be….

“There you are, Finn, you naughty boy,” a velvet voice slid between the two antagonists, followed by a body as full of sin as a summer night in New Orleans that was. “I send you for one drink,” the pale hand plucked the crystal tumbler from Harry’s tense grip, “and you get sidetracked by some old buddy,” she slid between the two as she gulped down the beverage, “Hmm, dry.” Turning towards Al-Kar the woman handed him the now-empty tumbler, “Since you stole my date, how’s about you take this and you,” she grabbed Finn’s lapels and started to drag him away, not that he took much convincing at this point, “you can make up for your negligence on the dance floor.”

“Sorry, honey,” Finn apologized as they moved away from the frustrated Al-Kar and towards the growing crowd on the dance floor, “you know how it is with old friends.”

Once clear, he whipped the mystery date around into a tight hold and moved center floor, directly in front of the very table he’d been surveilling so he could catch the now sharply-focused gaze of Charles Champe Stearns. Finn slowed the pace and returned the stare and in that brief, tarnished moment an entire lifetime of hatred spanned the two-meter distance. Satisfied that they understood one another, he allowed the woman to steer the dance towards the bandstand and, less than four bars later, the two were backstage and hightailing it to the kitchen, past a gaping Telaxian manager and out the door.

“So,” Harry began, as they stepped carefully into the night, “who are you, exactly?”

“One of the good guys, I believe it’s called where you are from,” Daka smiled, hooking one arm around his. “We can talk later. Right now I need to get you off the streets and somewhere safe.”

“The Moons of Shalamara”
Employee’s Lounge

When the last of the club’s formerly relaxing employees (mostly kitchen workers and cropiers fro m the casino) had left the lounge, Mylla threw an affirming nod to Sims, who nodded back and immediately closed and tapped in its locking code on the inset keypad beside it. She then turned to the man who paced a short expanse of the lounge’s interior…Charles—-her bond-mate…her beloved—-whose kenetic movement mirrored the tempest which raged within, and which Mylla experienced as though the maelstrom existed within her own psyche.

“Charles…” She spoke softly, approaching cautiously.

“Did you see? Did you see the son-of-a-bitch!” he blurted loudly, eyes blazing as he turned to face her. And Mylla literally recoiled. Because the voice which spewed forth was not that of her love and lover…But of a stranger. A man possessed. A demon…a Monster. It was a voice rife with wrath and shock, with indignation and mortification, with blood and sex, and…with terror.

It was the voice of Shaun Ryan Acker. A voice which activated an aura about the man she loved that, frankly, both fascinated and frightened Mylla.

“Yes, Charles…I saw him,” she answered calmly. “I believe that was the point. He wanted us to.”

“Wrong, dammit!” Stearns barked, slamming a fist into the wall beside him. “Me! He wanted me to see him. To know…that he’s here.”

Sims edged forward and cleared his throat. “But I mean…you knew that…right? I told you about him showing up at the Ankh and… .”

Charles whirled then, eyes filed with murderous fire and fists clenched as he made a beeline for Al-Kar… . “And where the HELL WERE YOU!”

…Thankfully Mylla was closer. “No! Charles No…” she stepped in to block his path. “It is not Sims fault. He had no choice but to let Finn go.”

“I want him, do you understand? And WHERE THE HELL IS GAVIN?” Stearns raged on, leveling an accusory finger at his now unnerved associate.

Sim took a cautious step backward. “I…dunno, Shaun. But—- ”

“Wha’d…you…just…call me, you bastard?”

“oh jee-suz,” Sims muttered, backpedaling again. “Sorry, Charles. ..I didn’t mean anything… .I’ll find him…Gavin, OK?”

“DO IT! And find that bastard Finn, too. I do’t give a rat’s ass if you gotta tear this whole Habitat apart piece by piece…Find him, dammit! FIND HIM!”

Joint post with Harry Finn, featuring NPC's Ray Don Slater and Daka, FDoJ Undercover
Originally Posted 5-13-2008 by Toryn Kaz

“The Moons of Shalamara”
Private Bath & Sauna Area
21:15:00 Hours

“Se on vedonlyöjä että te sisu, kin, minun lempiä (It is better that you go, also, my love)…”

“But I just got…” Slater started, believing, at first, that her words had been meant for him. A moment afterward, however, a second shape moved in the steam misted vicinity of the bathing pool. A male shape…i.e. the Ardanian attaché Daka had mentioned earlier. He stopped to kneel at the pool’s far rim where a muted conversation ensued. Brief, to be sure.

Just before its conclusion a pulsing tingle called Slater’s attention to his inner right wrist. Specifically, to his wrist chronometer, wherein the pulse signified an incoming transmission on its built-in comm-link.

Slater quickly put distance between himself and the bath pool, turning his back to it after stopping. “This better be good,” he near-whispered. “I’m kinda in the middle of something here…”

=/\= So am I =/\= Daka responded. =/\= I just thought you might be interested to know that the client we’ve been searching for found us…more or less =/\=

Client…Client? Client. “Finn?” Slater dropped his voice another octave, throwing a quick, self-concious glance over his shoulder in responseto the plap! plap! plap! of bare feet on wet tile. The attaché, moving in his general direction…Though more toward the bath house door, a few feet to his left.

“Look….I can’t talk right now,” Slater said quickly. “If its who I think it is, sit on him till I get there..”

=/\= Sit on him? Slater…why would I…=/\=

Slater stifled a chuckle. “Figure of speech. Have our…client explain it to you. Slater out.”

Yellow 24 Delta
“Terra Nova Suites”
15th Floor

“I know you won’t drink but may I offer you coffee?” the woman, who’d finally introduced herself as Daka, asked Finn as they crossed the threshold to what he sensed was a very exclusive property.

By now he’d given up asking how she knew everything she knew - every question had been politely shrugged off with promises of full disclosure, soon. “That’d be fine,” he responded, immediately beginning to prowl the living area, complete with a bar that Daka bypassed in favor of heading, he presumed, to the kitchen.

“How do you take it?”


“Is that recommended?”

Harry turned to see that she'd frozen mid-step, wearing a look of genuine confusion, “Ah, no… bad joke. Black, please.”

That earned another brilliant smile which made Finn think that Daka was well practiced in setting men at ease.

It almost worked.


While his erstwhile hostess/savior fetched coffee, Harry wandered to the window. Fifteen stories up, you could see a long way off. In his case what he saw was Acker, no, Stearns, sitting in a jumped-up gin joint acting like some sort of demi-tzar and gently (gently!) stroking the arm of the Cygnian ambassador.

He’d watched that byplay, so intimate in the spotlight of the lounge and he’d flashed to Kerrin’s face as he’d seen her last, only hours past. Pale and hurting because he couldn’t allow himself to be near her, even to think of her. But he had, thought of her, then and there, in the shadows while Stearns enjoyed the soft caresses of his woman.

“Careful, it’s still a bit hot.”

Blinking away the etched-in memories, Harry took the steaming mug, “Thanks,” he said. “For, you know, everything.” He took a careful sip, found it doable and chugged some more. It had been a long damn night, from the weird-ass odyssey with Tanis to the depressingly informative meet in the Red Alert to Kerrin to his venture into… what was it? The Moons of Shalamara, right… and now… he shook his head… now he was in some strange female’s apartment… which all things considered, maybe he shouldn’t…

Harry turned his eyes to the still-pleasantly smiling Daka and noted that she was splitting, amoeba-like, “You dosed the coffee,” he said, matter-of-factly, just before he slumped to the floor.

Daka snagged the mug before it could spill over Finn, or the costly carpet. “Sorry,” he heard as his eyes rolled back in his head, “But I thought this was better than sitting on you…”

“The Moons of Shalamara”
Private Bath & Sauna Area
21:25:30 Hours

“Mrs. Dee?” Slater quirked an amused eyebrow, staring down at the seductive, and glistening wet emerald form draped over the pool’s tiled rim.

Ah, that form. Those smouldering dark eyes. Those yummy, full lips. That scent…killer pheromones… . . “Alright…turn it off. I’m here on business…And not the kind you wanna give me… .Mrs. Dee…”

“Veda Dee. Kinda catchy when you think about it,” he added.

“It’s Dravas, actually,” she clarified. “Mrs. Veda Dravas.”

“You? Married? Boy…things have changed.”

“More than you know, Mr. Slater…And I’m widowed. Mister Dravas died last year, on his 89th birthday…”

“And it wasn’t me who killed him,” she threw in. “He… .fell in the bath tub and drowned.”

Slater chuckled. “Slipped on the soap…That’s original. Even for you, sweetcakes.”

“You are such a vitun äpärä, Slater,” She gave him a less-than-flattering up and down once-over and shook her head before pulling herself out of the pool. “Let’s get to it, shall we. What do you want?”

“Man can’t stop by to see an old friend without having a hidden motive? Veda Veda Veda I am truly wounded.”

“Hevon vittu!, Slater,” She turned to give him a full frontal visual assault, causing more perspiration than was prompted by the enclosure’s steam heated atmosphere. Nothing he hadn’t expected, of course.

Slater had known Veda—-to varying degrees, and a lengthy number of galactic venues—-since the days she was little more than shipboard entertainment for the now defunct Orion pirate band once commanded by her deceased cousin Saarmon-Veu. As Orions went, she was just a notch or two above the standard conniving, back-stabbing career thug. Meaning, that is, that she had at least a couple of unswerving principles. Translation: in business (depending upon who she dealt with and the risk to her own skin) she could be trusted…30-45% of the time, at least. As a Orion woman, on the other hand, you could bank on her. If the opportunity arose to use that lethal sexual nature of her’s to gain an advantage, she wouldn’t hesitate.

Slater braced himself, going over old baseball statistics in his head. “You have done OK for yourself since we last saw each other, Veda,” He took a safe step backward to (hopefully) lessen the affects of her pheromones. “I hear you’re a silent partner in this place… .”

“I’m impressed, Slater. There aren’t many people…still breathing…who know that.”

Slater pressed on, uninterrupted. “A very busy lady, too, since the end of the Dominion War. Got your own little operating clique in the Star Cartel…territories in Gorn, Romulan, and Federation space. And then there was that little soiree with the Ferengi Alliance and the Yridian stock exchange two years back. Rumor is, your people walked away with a very tidy little …franchising fee—-950,000 in gold-press Latinum…A very nice addition to all those vault deposit caches of your’s between the Orion Sector and Sector 001,” He paused to flash a suggestive grin. “Yes…Mrs. Dee, you have done very very well.”

“You have pallit (balls…testicles), Slater, I will give you that,” Veda laughed. Finally giving up on her attempts at disruption-through-seduction, she turned and moved further into the bath’s still misty interior. To a low bench not far away, where she donned a bulky silk robe and returned. “You have made your point, also. Yes, I owe you. So…to repeat myself…what do you want of me, Slater?”

“I also hear you’re the union rep for the Brotherhoods in Jericho-Beta,” Slater said, without missing a beat. “Someone with a finger on the pulse of the latest developments. You know.…what all the rumbling’s lately are about…and what’s going on here, in the club, tonight.”

Veda twitched a eyebrow. “That could be construed as a conflict of interests, you know. You being so chummy with a certain Earth Mafia chief… .”

“Nick San Giacomo and I are friends…period. We don’t let business get in the way of that.”

“Then what’s your interest? I hear things, too, Slater, and the pipeline said Old Don Genolina set you up for life. Why does it matter to you what’s going on here?”

“I got my reasons,” Slater shrugged. “Don Geo might have given me the means to retire from the jam trade…but I still have a few irons in other fires. If there’s another blaze about to spark here, finding out what’s what…and who’s who gives me a ground floor advantage.”

Veda was silent for a long moment, obviously calculating her options as she eyed the grinning ex-body guard.

“Alright. ..” she said, finally. “But let’s make this a mutually beneficial arrangement. You were. ..still are, hopefully, one of the best personal security men in the business. Even after…especially after what you did to the Brotherhood in the Rainbow Wars, a lot of the old men respect your talent.

“There’s something coming up soon…Something major. Obviously the staff I have now”…she jerked her chin toward the door, signifying Bear Bbjornstrand and company… “would not be worth a pimpsa in a dire situation… .You hire yourself out to me, for just the up coming event, and I will tell you what you want to know. Are you game?”

“I believe we have ourselves an arrangement, Mrs. Dee,” Slater said.

Yellow 24 Delta
“Terra Nova Suites”
15th Floor
22:55:20 Hours

“Welcome back to the Here and Now, Ensign Finn,” Slater said as the reclining former security officer opened his eyes and attempted to sit up.

Joint Post with Harry Finn, Featuring NPC's Ray Don Slater and Daka, FDoJ Undercover
Originally Posted 5-15-2008 by Toryn Kaz

Transcription Lab
Erasmus/Kendrassi dig

As if the key locking away the storeroom opened the door to reality pictures and emotions from the previous night flooded Kerrin's body. Snuffling softly to herself she walked back to her worktable, sat down, and just laid her head on her hands. I can take 5 minutes, wallow for five…then I get up and move on.

It was more than a little worrying to Xer that, though he'd left three messages with Mr. Dent since that morning, there'd been no reply. It didn't necessarily mean anything dire, Harry, er, Dent… Xer shook his head over the confluence of names… had said he'd often be out of touch but now he'd just gotten word from Ghemmy, a bartender of his acquaintance, that a bunch of toughs had been ripping apart much of the habitat last night, purportedly searching for one Harry Finn.

Entering the lab with the burden of that intelligence, he stopped short at the vision of Dr. Schaeffer, her head resting on the counter in an attitude of utter dejection. How, he thought, how could he tell her what he'd heard? Especially now that he knew just what Harry was to the woman. Embracing the coward within, he turned, intending to walk right back out the door.

Wallow interruptus…the ohh so careful tread of Xer was more invasive than if he had been throwing things around the room. Now self conscious, Kerrin raised her head (after cautiously wiping her nose on her sleeve) and tried to smile reassuringly. Screw this. "He said…well your letter said, that you could get a message to him. Can you really?" Maybe if she just knew he was alright she would feel better. Or maybe she could tell him that whatever he thought was going on with Jason wasn't. Or maybe targs might fly out of my butt….

"Oh!" he turned back and looked pretty much anywhere but at her eyes, which were painfully hopeful, "I can try… I've been trying all day, actually, but there's… there might be a problem…" oh, bother. Xer could have kicked himself for saying anything but it had just come out…

"Problem?" Kerrin was up like a shot. "What kind of problem?"

One of the things which made Xer uniquely unsuited to his previous life on the edge was his inability to lie. "He isn't responding to my messages, which isn't unusual but, word is… he seems to have made someone very angry," popped out.

"Why am I not surprised." Despondence transmuted instantly to concern, which was much easier to deal with, concern had a forward motion, where despondence just sat on its ass and whined. Grabbing Xer by the arm she headed towards the door. "Let's go."

"Go?" the little man went along for a couple steps before sense kicked in, along with the brakes. "Go where?"

"To find him…where else?" Turning back to face him, Kerrin smiled blandly. "You know where he has been, I seem to have a talent for pulling him out of the woodwork, what else do we need?" Her nose squinched up as she looked at the ceiling in thought. "Then again, Jason has been there both times I have seen him…he might be part of the equation." Shrugging she began to drag Xer back to the door. "If we can't find him tonight the I will have Jason go out with us the next time."

"No!" Xer said flatly, surprising himself with the firmness of the denial. "I mean… well… no." He dug his heels into the floor, sort of, as the doctor turned her gaze on him. "You don't understand, I'm supposed to keep you safe and, from what I heard, the Red and Blue sector's are off-limits. Whoever is mad is looking for Finn, hard. No," he shook his mournful head, "I'll escort you back to your residence and then…"

"I will go back out by myself." She stamped her foot in frustration. "You know me well enough by now, either you can go with me or you can explain to Harry later on why you let me go out by myself…you know where 'Dent' lives, don't you?"

Oh dear oh dear oh… "I don't know, exactly," he said, holding up a hand quickly at her expression, "It's the truth, I don't but…" nervously chewing at his lip, "give me a few minutes with a computer and I can find out." Ohhh he's gonna kill me.

Don't let up, don't let up…. Kerrin calmly walked over to her work terminal and stared pointedly at the visibly stricken Xer.

It was a broken Xer who, only ten minutes later looked up from the screen, "He lives in the Latinum Suites, on Baker Street in Yellow 26 Beta," he glanced back at the designated address, "room number 221A." He sighed, "He is going to tear me limb from limb, I hope you know that."

"Not if we save his ass he won't."

"Well, then, by all means let's hope he's in mortal danger," Xer muttered, following the determined scientist to the door, "that couldn't possibly go wrong."

JP featuring NPC's Kerrin Shaeffer and the adorable Xer
Originally Posted 5-16-2008 by T'Shaini

This takes places several hours before the previous post.

Yellow 24 Delta
“Terra Nova Suites”
15th Floor

“Welcome back to the Here and Now, Ensign Finn,” Slater said as the reclining former security officer opened his eyes and attempted to sit up.

Struggling to a fifteen degree angle (yeah, you bad) Harry tried to choose from one of the half-dozen witty responses which trammeled across his drug-addled brain but the only thing that made it to air was, “Resigned.” His tongue felt fuzzy and he started looking around for the rat that had apparently slept in his mouth. Vision began to clear and he realized that the black widow had a mate and he looked ready for way more action than Finn could even consider without his head exploding. “Who are you people?” Hey, four words… go me!

“Friends, Ens…Mister Finn,” Slater answered, then nudged his companion and made a cup-and-sipping gesture with his stiffened thumb and pinkie fingers. “As opposed to the army of street demons that are now turning the Blue and Red Sectors upside-down for you.”

Daka returned and held a steaming cup under his nose. “Raktejino…it’s all I have for the moment,” she smiled at the expression Harry threw up. “And there’s nothing in this but coffee.”

Slater waited until after Harry’s first sip to continue. “Oh…and by the way, Wolfe said you’d probably put up some resistance. We needed to keep you in one spot long enough for a briefing… .Darkhorse.”

Harry’s eyes slid over to Daka, “You could have just gone with the sitting on me thing,” he commented, dryly, “I’d have been okay with that. And you," he told the nameless wonder, "can tell Wolfe that he can take his briefing and shove it up his… wait… demons?” Synapses shuffled priorities and he latched onto the one sentence in Mr. Smooth’s intro that mattered to him, Finn. “I guess I got to him, after all,” he said to his pleasantly drug-free beverage.

“Oh yeah,” Slater heaved a half-amused chuckle…“You go to him alright”…then a quick glance at his associate. “Daka told me about that silky smooth move on the dance floor. Looked him right in the eye. Boy…that was…intelligent. From Acker’s point of view either a challenge or a scare tactic…or both. And from what I saw on the way over here he took it both ways. And probably moreso the second.

“Oh, and as far as that little message for Wolfe goes…if you got half the sense your file hints at, Finn, you’ll curb that attitude and listen to what’s going on with your boy Shaun Ryan Acker/Charles Champe Stearns. You just might need a little help.”

Your file, your file, your file… Finn had to force himself to remain seated as he fought down the tide of old anger. “I should be getting residuals on that file, by now, so many people have read it,” he commented, his tone carefully neutral. “And while I’m grateful for Wolfe’s concerns, I don’t really care what’s going on with… my boy…” he gently placed the empty cup on the end table, “I’m just a private citizen, and inclined to leave such problems to you fine fellows in DoJ.”

He leaned forward, then, hands clasped and elbows on his knees as he held the other man’s clearly disbelieving gaze, “However, if I were of a mind to care about Mr. Stearns, I’d recommend that you and Wolfe and Starfleet Security, if they’re sniffing around, take another look at that file” and now he did rise, though he didn’t move, not yet, “only this time make sure to tally up the bodies of all the other help I’ve had over the years.”

“Been there, read that,” Slater threw back, then held up a hand, excusing himself to go to Daka’s bar. He poured himself a hefty tumbler of bourbon, knocked back a big gulp off the top, then refilled it and returned.

“I’ll go you one even better,” he started again. “I’ve seen a couple of other files…Fat ones. Detailed reports from all the affected organizations of the damage done by Acker in his heyday. You wanna talk body counts…let’s talk the fourteen undercovers from the FBI, Starfleet Internal Security, and SI.7, whose covers were blown…Fourteen people whose bodies have yet to be found.…”

Slater grimaced into a second large swallow and resumed. “Let’s talk the 1st, 3rd, and 6th Starfleet Marine Force Recon Battalions…The seven highly classified operations that were compromised and their 400 casualties because Acker sold information to terrorists groups and rebel insurgents run by another bastard that just happens to also be operating here… .”

Daka, who’d been standing just behind him during his tirade, placed a hand of Slater’s shoulder. A gesture that carried a message which needed no accompanying words.

Slater threw her a quick glance and nodded acknowledgement, taking another sip of bourbon. “Yeah…” he took a deep breath, “Getting a little emotional here… .Look, Finn…I won’t begin to try and convince you that I know what it was like…or what you carry around inside you because it. All the people I mentioned…I wasn’t close to any of them…Not like your relationship with Sara Laslow and Seth Anderson… .”

Slater saw the man seated in front of him twinge (almost imperceptibly) t the mention of his dead friends. But he was on a roll, and he be damned if he’d back off until after he had said his piece.

“…But we did have one thing in common…We’re all soldiers in war,” he paused again, watching Harry’s face…eyes…body language for any sign that his words were getting through. “That’s right…a war. Undeclared, maybe, but a war in every sense of the word. Good guys versus the bad guys…as hoaky as that sounds…but there it is. An endless, nasty war…And I’m ranting again…

“Bottom line: I’m not gonna try and force or shame you into pitching in with us. You got your own operation going? You wanna take Acker down on your own? Have at it…Personally I wouldn’t give a old fashion nickel for your chances…not after what I just heard…but it’s your choice. Whichever way it goes down…taking him out’s not gonna chance a damn thing. Daka and me’ll still be soldiers with a war to fight. You wanna sign on, the door’s open. If not… … … .Now I’m done.”

Joint post with Harry Finn featuring NPC's Ray Don Slater and Daka, FDoJ Undercover
Originally Posted 5-16-2008 by Toryn Kaz

Yellow 24 Delta
“Terra Nova Suites”
15th Floor

“What have you heard?” Harry asked, quietly. “Not that I’m pitching anything anywhere, Mr. Bond…”

“It’s Slater.”

“Whatever… I’m willing to listen but maybe you should, too,” he glanced from one to the other of his… hosts? “I’ve been in your fine little town for less than five days and I’ve already sown dissension in Stearn’s ranks, set his nerves seriously on edge and I’ve got a lead on Jack and Jill the Rippers who, in case no one else has noticed, have been steadily reducing the number of viable working girls in the Red district…” he could see the fire rising in the other man’s eyes but Harry could bulldoze with the best of them. “So, hey, you have intel I can use, I’ll take it. I might even have a little show and tell of my own but that’s where it ends. We trade, I walk out the door. No teams, no partners, no orders, no…”

“—-Bullshit!” Slater spat, moving forward to slam his glass down on the center table. When he straightened himself his right hand held a wicked looking blue alloy Martian-made HK-450 with the muzzle of its extended barrel pointed at the spot just above the bridge of Harry’s nose.

“Damn prima donnas,” he muttered, making eye contact with his surprisingly calm target. “Okay. ..I tried nice. I tried understanding. Now let’s go the realistic route.

“I know all about your arrangement with Nechayev. You were reinstated and sent to Megiddo to flush Acker out. Man oh Man these people love bending you over, don’t they?… .Do you really believe Nechayev and the brain trust at Spec Ops weren’t 99.9 per cent sure Acker didn’t have some heavy weight help escaping the way he did? They used you as bait, Finn …To find out what kind of clout and range he had…”

That, Slater knew, had to hit home, if the reports he’d read from the USS Hawking’s Captain Benjamin and crew were any credible indication.

“I’ll give you at least this much break, Finn…you are definitely thinking through your ass if you think you know even half of what’s really going on here. For instance…since you resigned and jumped ship at Kendrassa Prime, Nechayev’s issued a ‘kill or cure’ on you. Doyle has orders to find, detain, or… .”

“…terminate with extreme prejudice,” Harry said softly, then jerked his chin toward the gun. “So…that where we are?”

“You’re a loose cannon, Finn. As long as you were working for Nechayev…on or off-the-record…she could keep tabs on you…control you. Now…you’re a potential intergalactic incident…An embarrassment. And an embarrassment, from their point of view, the Federation can’t afford right now.

“You see…Shaun Ryan Acker, alias Charles Champe Stearns, has hooked up with a particularly high profile faction of a long-standing UFP memberworld. Underneath, it’s a Syndicate thing. But on the surface it’s politics…We know who he really is; Nechayev knows…But to the rest of the outside world he’s the boyfriend of the Cygnian ambassador to Jericho-Samaria… .You go after Stearns…for whatever reason…and it goes bad, the media will have a field day with it. Guess Nechayev would rather put you in the can than deal with getting her buns ripped by the President because of you…

“So…inasmuch as the order I got from Doyle ended with an “if you can find him it’s your call”, the way I see it we can do this any one of three ways: one…” Slater jabbed the air with the HK’s muzzle, “a high explosive projectile round right between those baby blues; which I’d hate…”

“Not to mention what brain matter, blood, and bone chips would do to the couch and carpet,” Daka put in.

“Two…I let you walk out of here and do it your way. ..meaning Doyle would catch the heat from Nechayev after her butt gets singed by President Bacco. And three”…he raised the gun’s muzzle, grinning… “I haven’t had the time to track you down. . you work your ops and we do ours, but we keep each other updated on our progress. Personally I like number three better. The prospect of working with some lone wolf cowboy just don’t blow my skirt up.”

“Personally I could go for door number three, and please, I don’t think I ever want to see what’s under your skirt,” Harry commented, seemingly calm. Seemingly being the operative term as he’d no doubt whatsoever this Slater character wouldn’t have blown an inconvenient hole in his head if he felt enough motivation.

“So…” Slater gestured meaningfully with the still all-too-present weapon.

“So?” Harry held his own, empty hands palm up in a classic, ‘WTF’ gesture. “So what? What do you want me to tell you? ‘Oh, jeez, I’m sorry, if I’d known it would inconvenience the Federation I wouldn’t try to remove the sociopathic cyberterrorist from his path to intergalactic domination?’ I can’t say that.

“I can,” he continued, before mister boom could get aimed in his direction again, “tell you that what I’ve set in motion will more than likely eat away at Stearns’ foundations, with the side benefit of ending the torture and murders of untold numbers of women who live or work in the Red Sector which, given that Jill almost took out a Starfleet pilot earlier this evening, I’d think the brass might be sort of pleased by.” He was showing and telling more than he wanted but at this point, he’d do anything he had to to get out of this apartment and back on the job.

“Once the killers come to light, their guilt will stain the lily white image Mr. Stearns has managed to cultivate here in the Gamma Quadrant… I know, not enough but, my very visible presence has, as of tonight, put him on edge. He loses part of his team,” he felt both Slater and Daka’s eyes boring into his skull as he said that, “and it’ll eat away at him that much more. How much control do you think he’ll be granted by the Power’s That Be if he’s salivating over the thought of his grandfather’s killer wandering the streets? Who’s going to hand him the keys to the kingdom if he can’t take out one… lone wolf cowboy?”

“Well…if what I saw, and heard at Shalamara is any indication”…Slater finally let the HK ease to his side with an apprehensive look to his associate… “the kingdom sat in the seat next to him. On the other hand, things aren’t as rosy in the kingdom as the king and queen believe… .”

He turned to Daka then. “Pull your people back here…I’ll see about getting us some food. .and coffee for Mr. Finn. We have a lot to talk about and plans to make.”

“Whoa, hey!” Harry started to rise, “I didn’t sign on for a damn dinner party…” Slater shifted his grip on the HK slightly but with great significance, prompting Finn to ease back down to the annoyingly comfy sofa, “… but it’s always nice to make new friends?”

Joint Post with Toryn Kaz as NPC's Ray Don Slater and Daka, FDoJ Undercover
Originally Posted 5-17-2008 by Harry Finn

Yellow 28 Beta
“Condo Row” - Unit 13-9-SE
February 1, 2384
22:43:36 Hours

Sims gave up on the chime and finally used the code to let himself in. Gavin wasn’t answering his damn ‘link, he wasn’t with Neish (small blessings), he was basically MIA and meanwhile all hell had busted loose, in the form of Harry Finn… Harry Finn who Al-Kar had held in his hands like a bug, until that skirt showed. If Booth had been along for the ride, no way would that broad have managed to spirit Finn away… not for long, at any rate.

Entering the darkened living area of Booth’s apartment, Sims called for lights but…

“Belay that,” Gavin’s husky voice countered the command. “I like it dark.”

“Gav?” Sims peered into the dimness, eyes adjusting enough to make out the slumping form of his blood brother, in the deeply cushioned chair by the window. “Where the hell have you been? Charles,” he pronounced the name carefully, “is frothing at the mouth… Finn made an appearance and I f**king lost him…”

“Neishi needed help,” Booth rose and, accustomed to the lack of light, crossed to his bar, poured out a Skagaran whiskey, “housekeeping problem.”

Al-Kar sneered as he took the drink out of Gavin’s hand, slammed it back on the bar, “You’re not her houseboy, Gav and you had an assignment. You were supposed to be with me, shadowing Charles and Mylla. If Neishi needs housekeeping, Grunt can handle it, that’s why he’s there.”

The cold black empty of Booth’s eyes slid past his brother’s face as he gave a small shrug, “Turns out Grunt was the housekeeping. He let some little bit blind him before Neishi took her out with a sticker. He was sloppy… now he’s dead.” The slim blade of a man began to walk away but Sims let out a stream of invectives as he yanked Gavin back.

“Let Neishi handle her own domestic issues… especially when you’re supposed to be working. You have any idea how bent Shaun… dammit… Charles is? Finn waltzed right up to his table… and I mean that literally, by the way, he danced up to where he and Mylla were sitting, chill as you please and then poof, in the f**king wind, again.

“I tell you, I am done with this prick. We are digging him up and then we’re gonna bury him again… alive if I have anything to say about it… and… what are you doing?” as Gavin, who’d been complacently listening the entire diatribe stepped in that much closer to his ranting brother to run a hand over Sims’ lapel.

“Where’s your embassy badge?”

“What?” Al-Kar threw off Gavin’s hand, “It’s gone. I told you I lost it a couple days ago, after…”

“Right, right, you said.” Booth smiled a small, almost sad smile. “So, where do you wanna start digging for Finn?”

“Sha—Charles,” why was it so frikkin’ hard to keep his name straight, all of the sudden? “He got an address, down in 26 Beta…”

“A hop and a skip.”

“Right,” following Booth to the door, “anyways, we go, we see if he’s there. If he ain’t…”

“If he ain’t, we wait.”

“Or see what he left behind to point the way,” Sims added as Gavin went to his closet to select his favorite blade. This he placed in the spring-holseter up his sleeve, the garrote already rested in his pocket. He then slung the angle-draw over his shoulders, already loaded with his custom-made: a Romulan disruptor adapted to include a projectile option which, when selected, fired a polaron beam in combination with anti-coag rounds. He’d ordered it through the cat-woman, Szeeraal, who had a straight line to Leonardo, (so called because he was the DaVinci of weaponry out here in the sticks). The Caitian hadn’t liked dealing with Booth, he knew but she knew better than to cross him, or anyone else from the Circle.

As Booth donned his jacket and checked the drape over his weapon, Al-Kar frowned, “You’re bringing the Leonardo?” Not that he didn’t want Finn in the ground, but, “What if we need to ask questions…”

“I’ll aim at an extremity,” Booth said, sliding a cigarette between his lips, “it’ll take a while to bleed out.” Flicking his thumb on a match, and shivering over the too-brief touch of flame, Gavin led the way out of his apartment. “So,” he asked, crossing the threshold, “How’s Jessyn doing?”

He didn’t see Al-Kar’s steps falter, or the cloud of doubt whisk across his brother’s eyes as he remembered Finn’s own words regarding Booth’s unique addiction.

’One is too many, and a thousand isn’t enough. It can never be enough.’

Damn Neishi…

Featuring NPC's Sims Al-Kar and Gavin Booth
Originally Posted 5-19-2008 by Harry Finn

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